The standard-bearer of global tobacco and vaping companies, Philip Morris International has been labeled as one of the industry’s most “hypocritical” organizations, CNN reported.
Backed by 2017 revenue of $78.10 billion, the New York-based company was founded in 1900 and now urges individuals to quit traditional smoking in favor of vaping.
But also good business.
Philip Morris on Oct. 22 launched its “Hold My Light” advertising campaign in the United Kingdom, which encouraged smokers to turn to heat-not-burn (HNB) devices as a less risky alternative.
Critics voiced their disapproval, claiming the producers of the internationally recognizable brand of Marlboro cigarettes, was doing nothing but “jumping on the bandwagon,” according to CNN.
Numerous reports over the past few years indicate smoking rates are trending down and vaping up. In fact, that seems to parallel the on-going sales strategy for Philip Morris, which also continues to develop and grow its vaping brands, IQOS, Nicocig, and Vivid.
“It’s not that the message is the wrong one,” Action on Smoking CEO Deborah Arnott told CNN.
“It’s that it’s hypocritical for a company that is still promoting smoking in most parts of the world to be saying that it’s turning over a new leaf.
“They’re basically hanging on the coattails of government anti-smoking regulation that has worked, and they’re trying to get some kind of benefit for them from it. They’re looking for a commercial advantage, make no mistake.”
Philip Morris kicked off the “Hold My Light” campaign by purchasing wraparound front-page advertising of The Daily Mirror, a leading British newspaper. The ad championed a challenge of individuals giving up combustible cigarettes and switch to vaping products for 30 days.
Senior Policy Manager at Cancer Research UK George Butterworth said in a statement: “This is staggering hypocrisy from a tobacco company to promote its own smoking cessation products in the UK while continuing to promote tobacco cigarettes across the world.”
But good business.
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