PMFTC leader pushes for change for a smoke-free future

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An executive from PMFTC Inc., the local branch of Philip Morris International, said Thursday the company is embracing technological innovation to deliver a smoke-free future. Speaking at the 2021 American Chamber of Commerce Business Innovation Forum titled “Redefining the Future” held online, Dr Victor Joseph Yamat, PMFTC Scientific Affairs Director, said science has proven that the combustion or combustion process during cigarette smoke is what produces harmful compounds that cause disease, not nicotine. “Our best opportunity to contribute to positive change is clear: we need to innovate and innovate responsibly,” said Yamat, who took part in the virtual event with experts from various fields to share ideas on how companies can take advantage of technological innovations to transform industries. Yamat was referring to PMI’s statement of “Delivering a Smoke-Free Future”. He said this corporate vision has a very specific goal: to provide the world’s adult smokers, who would otherwise continue to smoke, with smoke-free alternatives. “Scientific evidence has shown that burning is indeed the main problem. The reality is that as soon as we set something on fire, we practically open a chemical factory. This applies to tobacco in a cigarette. Fuel in a car. Or wood in a stove, ”he said. Yamat said studies have shown that as the temperature of tobacco increases, the levels of harmful chemicals that are formed also increase. “The start of combustion is actually around 400 degrees Celsius. This is why there is movement between sectors to reduce and eliminate combustion or combustion in the equation, ”he said. He said that for PMI, “this means replacing cigarettes in the markets in which we operate with smoke-free alternatives. He said that these smoke-free products, while not without risk, are a much better choice than continuing to smoke. He said nicotine is not the main culprit in illnesses. “Nicotine is found naturally in tobacco. It’s addicting and not without risk. But this is not the main cause of smoking-related illnesses. he said. Yamat said that there are currently 16 million smokers in the Philippines and the prevalence of smoking continues around the world. “Despite the regulations being imposed, it is estimated that by 2025 there will still be 1.1 billion smokers in the world,” he said, citing estimates from the World Health Organization. He said that since 2008, PMI has invested $ 8.1 billion in research and development, which represents 99% of the company’s total R&D spending. “We support an R&D team of 934 scientists, engineers and technicians. We have 1,300 granted patents for our smoke-free technologies and we have over 350 peer-reviewed studies, ”he said. According to Yamat, this is a testament to PMI’s commitment to bringing science to the forefront as the company continues its quest. “At PMI, we believe responsible innovation through science and data results in solutions that benefit our consumers,” he said. Yamat said smokeless alternatives don’t burn tobacco. They do not create smoke and only produce vapor and have no ash. On the other hand, cigarettes burn tobacco and produce smoke and ash, he said. Examples of smoke-free products are heated tobacco products (HTP) and vapes or electronic cigarettes. HTPs like PMI’s IQOS heat real tobacco without burning it. Nicotine is naturally present in tobacco. Meanwhile, the e-cigarettes vaporize e-liquid. Vapes does not have real tobacco, and the nicotine it contains is derived from tobacco which is added to e-liquid. HTP and vapers do not produce ash or smoke. Yamat clarified that smokeless products are not without risk and are addictive. “They are only intended for adult smokers who do not want to quit and who would otherwise continue to smoke. And let me reiterate that the best choice a smoker can make is to quit cigarettes and nicotine altogether, ”he said. He said PMI’s internal research has shown a positive change in the markets where IQOS is available to adult consumers. “As of December 31, 2020, we estimate that there were nearly 18 million IQOS users, of which 72% – or nearly 13 million – had switched to IQOS and had quit smoking, with the remainder in various stages. conversion, ”he said. . “Cigarette volumes have declined in markets where we have introduced IQOS, such as in Japan, where the rate of decline in cigarette sales quintupled after the introduction of our smokeless product, according to a study by the American Cancer Society . Yamat said. Yamat said they see nicotine as the key to speeding up smoking cessation. “It’s hard to imagine how a world without cigarettes can be achieved in a timely manner without non-combustible alternatives. Education about what nicotine is – and what it is not – is needed to accelerate innovation and progress, ”he said. “With this, we hope to be able to help the 16 million smokers in the Philippines. And we’re happy to see that a million Filipinos are already using smoke-free alternatives, ”he said.

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