Marlboro Man, the macho cigarette-smoking cowboy, has a surprising new message

Philip Morris head proposes 2030 ban as tobacco firm becomes ‘wellness company’

Marlboro Man: Philip Morris’s cowboy on a billboard in Los Angeles in 1995. Photograph: Bill Nation/Sygma via Getty

Marlboro Man: Philip Morris’s cowboy on a billboard in Los Angeles in 1995. Photograph: Bill Nation/Sygma via Getty

 

The chief executive of the tobacco business Philip Morris International has called for cigarettes to be banned within a decade. The move would outlaw its own Marlboro brand, whose advertising for many years featured manly images of the Marlboro Man cowboy.

Jacek Olczak said the company could “see the world without cigarettes … and, actually, the sooner it happens, the better it is for everyone.” Cigarettes should be treated like petrol cars, the sale of which is due to be banned in the UK by 2030, he said; a similar ban is being considered by the Irish Government.

He told the Sunday Telegraph that a UK ban would end the confusion felt by smokers, some of whom still thought the “alternatives are worse than cigarettes ... Give them a choice of smoke-free alternatives … With the right regulation and information it can happen 10 years from now in some countries. You can solve the problem once and forever.”

Philip Morris International recently said it wanted half its turnover to come from nonsmoking products as it morphs into a “healthcare and wellness company”, with executive pay tied to its new mission to “unsmoke the world” by phasing out cigarettes.

Nonetheless, the company has come under fire from anti-smoking campaigners who accused it of hypocrisy after it launched a €1.2 billon takeover bid for Vectura, a British pharmacy company that makes asthma inhalers.

Campaigners argue that tobacco companies are positioning themselves as part of the solution to a smoke-free world while continuing to aggressively sell and promote lethal cigarettes. Smoking, including secondhand, kills roughly 8 million people a year, according to the World Health Organization.

Tobacco firms have been moving into cigarette alternatives such as vapes and e-cigarettes. Philip Morris International is pushing the Iqos, a cigarette device that heats tobacco to deliver nicotine without the smoke and tar that cause cancer and other diseases. – Guardian

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