PMFTC Inc. President Denis Gorkun unveiled their company’s bold ambition to adapt to the changing times by way of transforming its people and innovating its products grounded on a vision that is fact and science-based.
Speaking at the opening of the DigiCon Omni 2020 virtual conference yesterday, Gorkun shared to attendees Philip Morris International (PMI)’s vision to deliver a smoke-free future with better alternatives to replace cigarettes for adult smokers who would otherwise choose to continue to smoke. PMFTC is the local affiliate of PMI.
“There has never been such a dramatic paradigm shift at such a major organization. We are doing so much more than just evolving from an agriculture and consumer goods company to a technology company. We are a company that needs to transform in order to be successful in the new smoke-free reality,” Gorkun stressed.
He emphasized that PMI’s smoke-free alternatives to cigarettes are not risk-free and the best thing for smokers is still to quit and for non-smokers to never start at all.
Explaining PMI’s transformation, he said “we are going smoke-free because it is the right thing to do, and our resources allow for it. With the support of top-in-class scientists, engineers, technicians and a state-of-the-art R&D, our bold vision is to transform our business, to replace cigarettes at the soonest possible time. To take the smoke out of smoking.”
As governments around the world take action against smoking because of its harmful effects, the company has responded with a clear vision to a smoke-free future by addressing the main cause of smoking-related diseases.
He said estimates by the World Health Organization (WHO) show there will still be more than a billion smokers in 2030. In the Philippines - at a quit rate of four percent - there are 16 million smokers despite rigorous regulations implemented by the government.
“What of the billion smokers who will continue to smoke then? With today’s science and innovation, there must be another, a better way, right?”
“For our company, the answer is clear: we need to innovate, and innovate responsibly. By doing something that sounds easy in theory but is much more difficult in practice. And that is to take the smoke out of smoking,” Gorkun explained.
PMI has invested seven billion dollars in R&D, hired over 400 scientific experts and resulted to 5,800 patents granted as of 2019. The team produced hundreds of studies that were peer reviewed or are in the process of being peer reviewed.
“This is a testament to our commitment to put science at the forefront as we continue on our quest. It also is a manifestation of our company’s conviction that responsible innovation through science and data overcome problems and result in solutions that work for our consumers,” the PMFTC executive said.
The product of PMI’s research and development, a heated tobacco product, IQOS, has been recognized by the US FDA as a fundamentally different product than combustible cigarettes. And “It has been authorized to be marketed in the US under a modified exposure order, which is deemed appropriate for the “promotion of public health” and is “expected to benefit the health of the population.”
IQOS is an electronic tobacco heating system, a new patented technology. Its components include a pocket charger and heating device. And this heating device is used only with a tobacco stick -- called HEETS -- that is designed to be heated and not burned, thus producing a vapor. IQOS is smoke-free. It heats real tobacco, and produces no smoke, no fire and no ash.
Today, he said, the company’s significant journey is to meet the need of consumers, equipped with a vision and a product.
He cited the global success of IQOS, which today is available in 57 countries. In just five years, there are now fifteen million IQOS users globally, with 72% converting fully to IQOS.
“And we’re excited by the fact that our research tells us 59% of Filipino smokers are open to trying smoke-free alternatives as long as they are commercially available and subject to certain product safety standards,” he added.
PMFTC, he said, is doing its best to bring smoke-free products within the reach of Filipino adult smokers who would otherwise continue to smoke and bring us closer to our dream of a Smoke-free Philippines.
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