By 2025, 40 million traditional cigarette smokers worldwide will abandon the habit and adopt e-cigarettes, Mr. Bahman safakish, managing director of sub Saharan Africa at PMI, said in an interview on Thursday.
According to him, Fimo aims to achieve 30% of our total sales of smokeless products by 2025, which is equivalent to about 40 million smokers using the product.
PMI is a big step towards our ambitious goal of achieving a smoke-free future, he said. Iqos has been commercialized in 53 markets, and we have encouraged more than 10 million smokers to switch to iqos and give up cigarettes.
Safakish said four million people are currently using the product and we hope they will soon give up cigarettes.
Iqos electronic cigarette is a heating system that produces steam rather than harmful smoke.
Mr. Bahman safakish said PMI remained fully committed to ensuring that safer smoke-free products replaced current cigarettes as soon as possible.
According to him, it must be noted that the World Health Organization estimates that there will be more than one billion smokers by 2025, and the goal is to reduce the smoking rate by 30% by then.
But he laments that replacing cigarettes with smokeless products will take time. For example, scientists and experts should help by providing accurate information to the public about the relative risks of these products to continued smoking.
Bahman safakish added that the government could work with manufacturers to encourage innovation. Governments have an important role to play in defining regulations that encourage smokers to switch, and eventually smokers will have to decide to quit smoking or switch to less harmful products.
PMI believes that one of the solutions to reduce infectious diseases will be the migration from traditional cigarettes to smokeless products.
He said the number one cause of smoking related diseases is all the toxic substances in cigarette smoke, most of which are formed when tobacco is burned.
Safakish praised the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its decision since 2016 to apply modified risk tobacco products (MRTP) to iqos and three heat sticks variants (iqos tobacco heating system) submitted by Philip Morris International (PMI).
He said the FDA's decision is historic because it marks the first time the FDA has granted an improved risk tobacco product (MRTP) audit for heated tobacco products.
In support of his claim that smokers switch to e-cigarettes, safax said that providing these smokers with scientifically based, less hazardous alternatives is a common sense solution to improve public health.
He points out that according to who's own forecast, by 2025, smokers will continue to exceed 1 billion, roughly the same number as today.
On the economic front, safakish said PMI believes the cost of equipment and heated tobacco consumables will continue to decline over time, and the government will continue to provide tax differentials and other regulatory measures to accelerate the transition of adult smokers.