For this project, the major cigarette manufacturer wants a tax relief for smoke-free products as part of its plan to ban conventional cigarettes from New Zealand shelves in the coming years. According to the report, this would allow them to exit the market quicker.
"There is no motivation, at all, from anybody within Philip Morris to keep selling cigarettes in New Zealand," Philip Morris New Zealand general manager James Williams was quoted as saying. He wants New Zealand to be its first cigarette-free market.
National Tobacco Control Advocacy Service general manager Mihi Blair said the plan was just a bold public relations stunt: "If Philip Morris was very serious about it, they would just stop it [selling cigarettes] right now. It is just swapping one addiction to another," he was quoted as saying.
Williams said that the company could not immediately take cigarettes off the shelves because that would only force smokers to buy from other manufacturers, the report said.
Philip Morris International, owner of the Marlboro brand, spent USD 6.8 billion (EUR 6 billion) to transform its business from a cigarette selling company into a company that eventually sells only smoke-free tobacco sticks intended to be heated inside an electronic device rather than burned, the report said.