At the end of 2019, it was calculated that there were a total of 13.6m IQOS users, of whom 9.7m were former smokers who had switched to the safer alternative.
Describing the four biggest obstacles to change as “uncertainty, polarisation, hyperpartisanship and ideology,” Calantzopoulos said that given the tension brought about by the current pandemic, these obstacles have been heightened.
“Being at the helm of the largest multinational tobacco company as it transforms to deliver a smoke-free future, I experience first hand how detrimental polarisation is to making real progress—in this case, progress in eradicating smoking. And, as a reminder, this concerns more than one billion men and women who smoke around the world,” said the CEO.
“Political agendas and ideology are slowing progress”
Whilst acknowledging that the best option is to never start smoking, Calantzopoulos said that the benefits of using safer alternatives in the fight against smoking, are being overlooked. “A future in which cigarettes are obsolete is within reach. In fact, with the right regulatory encouragement and support from civil society, we believe cigarette sales can end within 10 to 15 years in many countries. Yes, that’s right: an end to cigarettes within 10 to 15 years in many countries.”
“Unfortunately, political agendas and ideology are slowing progress and keeping millions of people uninformed. Rather than holding an evidence-based conversation on how best to regulate these innovative products to help adult smokers leave cigarettes behind, we are often faced with an ideologically driven resistance from some public health organizations and some NGOs,” he added.
Calantzopoulos made similar claims in a sustainability report published last July. He has long been emphasizing that the company’s goal is achieving a “smoke-free future,” and has now started giving a concrete timeline. The company already gets almost a fifth of its revenue from non-combustible products, such as its heated-tobacco device, iQOS.
iQOS market expansion
Meanwhile, earlier this year PMI posted a 44.2% increase in iQOS shipments, to 59.7bn units, with a 40.7% rise to 17.1bn units in the last quarter of 2019. Excluding the US, the tobacco giant has witnessed a market share increase in IQOS markets by 1.4 percentage points to 5%. At the end of 2019, it was calculated that there were a total of 13.6m IQOS users, of whom 9.7m were former smokers who had switched to the safer alternative.
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