Tobacco group Philip Morris International has reportedly announced plans to stop selling cigarettes in the UK in 10 years.
It could end the flagship brand of cigarette maker Marlboro and comes two years after the UK government said it wanted to end smoking in England by 2030.
“I want to allow this company to quit smoking,” Philip Morris CEO Jacek Olczak said in an interview with the Mail on Sunday. “I think in the UK, in 10 years or less, you can completely solve the smoking problem.”
When asked if that meant the company would stop selling traditional cigarettes in the UK within that timeframe, Olczak replied: “‘Absolutely’.
The WHO describes the tobacco epidemic as “one of the greatest public health threats the world has ever faced”.
Campaign groups have pointed out that Philip Morris International has issued similar statements in the past for very few things.
They also argue that the tobacco giants, which have a long history of denying the health risks of smoking, are fighting back as part of the transition to a smoke-free world while continuing to sell and promote cigarettes locally. global scale.
Former Philip Morris International chief executive André Calantzopoulos said in 2016 that he hoped the company would stop selling cigarettes altogether.
A company spokesperson was not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC on Monday.
The World Health Organization describes the tobacco epidemic as “one of the greatest public health threats the world has ever faced”. The United Nations health agency says smoking, including second-hand, kills more than 8 million people a year.