Leaked documents show PMI drew up plans for a UK tobacco transition fund in exchange for the advertising ban on e-cigs and “heat not burn” devices to be lifted, reports the Guardian.
The GBP 1 billion (USD 1.3 billion) tobacco transition fund was to be spent by Public Health England and local authorities in a bid to get smokers to switch from cigarettes to alternatives like IQOS, which is Philip Morris International's (PMI) own “heat not burn” device, according to the Guardian.
The leaked documents show that PMI was in discussions with leading anti-tobacco MP Kevin Barron, since retired, regarding a smoke-free bill proposing the fund to the House of Commons. Had the bill passed, the advertising and marketing ban on IQOS and all e-cigarettes almost certainly would have been lifted.
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) called the approach “breathtakingly hypocritical” and went on to say, “Ash has worked with Kevin Barron for decades. He led the campaign in parliament to ban tobacco advertising and it’s thanks to his work that pubs are now smoke-free. If, as it looks like, PMI persuaded Kevin Barron of the need for government to partner with the industry, their ‘normalisation’ strategy is clearly working.”
According to the Guardian, PMI stated that it wants to work with the government in a bid to make England smoke-free by 2030. “To realise this ambition, millions of current smokers need to be persuaded to quit altogether or switch to less harmful alternatives. Critical to this will be putting in place a regulatory framework that ensures smokers have the facts about alternatives and that tobacco companies are pushed to phase out cigarettes.”