As if the FDA’s recent announcement wasn’t a clear-cut warning sign to Big Tobacco that its days of business-as-usual were numbered, this news certainly is. On September 13, the Foundation For A Smoke-Free World (FSFW) published a press release on their website formally launching its efforts to eliminate smoking worldwide. Additionally, the independent non-profit organization recognized that it has secured funding from Philip Morris International (PMI) in the amount of $80 million dollars over the next 12 years.
Take a step back and let that sink in for a moment…
Beginning in 2018, one of the biggest tobacco companies in the industry is not only willing to discontinue its own bread and butter, it has contractually bound itself to assist in the potential destruction of a market that has made the cigarette giant billions for decades.
And they’re set to dish out nearly a billion to do it!
To say this is unprecedented is an understatement. Even more, the Foundation’s bylaws clearly state that PMI and the tobacco industry at large are precluded from having any influence over how the Foundation spends its funds or focuses its activities, hence the organization’s independent status and that their core principles stress such an unconstrained position when it comes to complete transparency. In other words, the FSFW is free to share, publish or release its findings however it pleases.
Now, this looks all impressively public relations-like on the surface, but it’s safe to say Philip Morris’s efforts are far more reaching, as in their transition to producing vaper goods are already well underway. And it surely doesn’t hurt to put forth a lengthy research and development initiative worthy of good press AND future profitability.
Why do we think so? Because PMI CEO André Calantzopoulos said so. As initially reported by the Financial Times, Calantzopoulos shared his company’s (and shareholder’s) good fortune, thanks to a budding global demand for alternative nicotine delivery options, most notably, vaping.
“Our efforts are squarely focused on ultimately replacing cigarettes with smoke-free products, by offering the millions of men and women who continue to smoke a better alternative,” Calantzopoulos explained. “We are standing at the cusp of a true revolution and look forward to the foundation’s objective review of our efforts and efforts of others.”
Well played, Mr. Calantzopoulos. Well-positioned, Philip Morris and well persevered, the international vape community as well as all within the game who have progressed from such backing. Because the e-cigarette market is rapidly expanding in every facet of the industry at a heightened pace. And it’s reassuring that every aspect of this innovative movement has made huge strides in gaining acceptance, both publicly, politically and, perhaps most of all, medically. Because it is the moral and monetary influence this trifecta has in propelling vaping’s future, forward.