LONDON -- Philip Morris International’s CEO turned heads recently when he spoke of a time when the major tobacco manufacturer would stop selling traditional cigarettes.
On the heels of its U.K. release of a new “heat not burn” product called iQOS, CEO Andre Calantzopoulos said during an interview with British Broadcasting Corp.’s Radio 4, "There will come a moment in time where I would say we have sufficient adoption of these alternative products … and sufficient awareness to start envisaging together with government a phaseout period for cigarettes, and I hope this time will come soon.”
Reynolds American Inc., Winston-Salem, N.C., sells a similar product called Revo in the United States, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Philip Morris won’t be getting out of cigarettes soon, however, given the large market, the newspaper reported.
That said, Calantzopoulos held firm to the new direction away from traditional cigarettes. “I think we’re transforming our company to achieve this,” he said. “We’re moving very massively our resources and the focus of the organization from our existing traditional business to the new one so, as far as we are concerned, we will do everything we can to accelerate the reaching of consumers to this product.”
Lausanne, Switzerland-based Philip Morris has invested more than $3 billion in iQOS in the past decade, The Wall Street Journal reported, with plans to have iQOS available in 20 markets by the end of this year and 30 markets by the end of 2017. IQOS is currently available in more than 10 countries, including Japan, Italy and Switzerland.