CEO: Philip Morris International Will 'Absolutely' Stop Selling Cigarettes in the U.K. Within a Decade

The company is turning its focus to e-cigarettes and heated tobacco devices.
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NEW YORK — Philip Morris International (PMI) Inc. could look very different a decade from now.

The company will phase out traditional cigarettes in favor of alternatives such as e-cigarettes and heated tobacco devices in the United Kingdom, CEO Jacek Olczak told U.K. news outlet The Daily Mail.

Olczak affirmed that PMI will "absolutely" end the sale of traditional cigarettes within the U.K.

"I want to allow this company to leave smoking behind," Olczak said. "I think in the U.K., ten years from now maximum, you can completely solve the problem of smoking."

He compared traditional cigarettes to gas-powered cars as he called for the U.K. government to outlaw them within the next ten years. The best choice for consumers is to quit smoking while the second-best choice is to switch to less harmful alternatives, according to Olczak.

This aligns with a government plan that calls for the U.K. to go smoke-free by 2030.

"We can see the world without cigarettes," he said. "And actually, the sooner it happens, the better it is for everyone. With the right regulation and information it can happen 10 years from now in some countries. And you can solve the problem once and forever."

The 10-year plan doesn't affect the future of Philip Morris USA, which operates separately as a division of Richmond, Va.-based Altria Group.PMI is legally headquartered in New York but does not operate within the United States. Its operational headquarters are in Lausanne, Switzerland.

PMI's plans for a smoke-free future include the purchase of British pharmaceutical company Vectura Group, which manufactures asthma inhalers.