Philip Morris International chief executive Jacek Olczak spoke out against his company's best-known product Sunday, telling British newspapers that he fully supports a government plan to eliminate smoking by 2030. He said the government should ban smoking and the company would like to "see the world without cigarettes … and actually, the sooner it happens, the better it is for everyone," per the Guardian. Olczak, who become the firm's CEO in May told the Mail on Sunday that the company will "absolutely" stop selling tobacco cigarettes, including its Marlboro brand, in Britain before 2030, reports the AP. With smoke-free alternatives, he said, "you can solve the problem forever." In 2008, Philip Morris International was spun off from Altria, which operates in the US market.
For years, Philip Morris has said it plans to move away from cigarettes and focus on e-cigarettes and other alternatives, including a heated tobacco product. Earlier this month, it launched a bid for asthma drug maker Vectura as part of what it called its "evolution into a broader healthcare and wellness company," reports Reuters. Some campaigners, however, noted that little changed after earlier promises from Philip Morris and other tobacco giants that they planned to phase out cigarette sales, CNBC reports. (In 2017, the company's "secret war" against a World Health Organization tobacco control treaty was exposed.)