Leading tobacco companies of the world are working towards achieving a smoke-free future and their aim is none other than to ensure that as many adult smokers give up cigarettes as possible. The objective is clear: tobacco companies, different stakeholders and the society should work hand in hand together on accelerating the end of smoking.
More than one billion people worldwide smoked cigarettes or other combustible tobacco products in 2020, and, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), around the same number will smoke in 2025. The best choice for any adult smoker is to quit nicotine altogether.
People who do not smoke should not start. Those who do smoke should quit, and those adult smokers who otherwise would not quit should have access to information about less harmful alternatives to cigarettes.
What is the problem with cigarettes?
It is common knowledge that cigarettes are harmful to health. However, it is less obvious that the substances found in the smoke and created during the burning of the cigarette are the primary causes of smoking-related diseases. These are harmful to the health of smokers and non-smokers alike. Cigarette smoke contains several thousands of toxic chemicals, such as arsenic, formaldehyde, cyanide, lead, nicotine and carbon-monoxide, many of which have been proven to be associated with – or directly responsible for – the development of various diseases.
Harm reduction is key
It is clear that governments should continue their prevention and cessation efforts in order to ensure that people who do not smoke never start smoking and those who already smoke are encouraged to quit smoking as soon as possible. It is also important that adult smokers who, for some reason, do not quit and continue smoking should have access to information about harm reduction and smoke-free alternatives. However, it is important to be aware that these technologies are not safe or risk-free either and they are not substitute for quitting. The best thing to do to reduce smoking related harm is to stop smoking or using any nicotine containing products.
Research and development of smoke-free alternatives
There are already several R&D centers around the world where experts, scientists and engineers are researching smoke-free technologies in the hope that these alternatives will ultimately replace cigarettes in the near future. According to industry forecasts, given an appropriate regulatory framework and the support of the civil sector, the sale of cigarettes could cease in several countries within 10-15 years.
Sustainable strategy must be a corporate strategy
It is clear today that the biggest positive impact tobacco companies can have on society is doing everything they can to ensure that for those who do not quit for whatever reason replace cigarettes with less harmful alternatives. Therefore, it is becoming more and more important to invest as much of their available resources as possible into researching scientifically substantiated, less harmful alternatives to cigarettes.
Developing more environmentally friendly products
Contributing to the circular economy means developing more environmentally friendly products by improving their recyclability, efficiency, and repairability. Building sustainability considerations into product design is a way to control environmental and social impacts across a product’s life cycle – from development and manufacturing to use and disposal. Companies should continue to advance these technical environmental assessments earlier into our development cycle, understanding the impacts and sustainability potential of new innovations at the earliest stage.
This article is a public service advertisement financed by Philip Morris Magyarország Kft.
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