Thanks to scientific and technological advancements, the world is undergoing fundamental changes and the tobacco industry is no exception. The tobacco companies of the world are working on achieving a smoke-free future; their aim is none other than to ensure that as many adult smokers give up cigarettes as possible and as quickly as possible.
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.
Thus, we know that smoking causes addiction and a number of serious diseases. According to the estimates of leading international organizations, there are currently one billion smokers around the world and in spite of the healthcare measures introduced in various countries, this number is not likely to change significantly in the future due to the ever-increasing population.
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
The essential goals of the smoke-free future are none other than to relegate cigarettes to the past and to offer alternatives to smokers who do not quit and would otherwise continue smoking, alternatives that are scientifically proven to be less harmful than continued smoking. 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 corporate operations
However, it is not enough to choose a direction to go in; the smoke-free future demands serious commitment from companies. Several key changes will have to be implemented to ensure that smoke-free thinking is integrated into general and day-to-day business process in a sustainable manner.
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 proven alternatives that offer a better choice than cigarettes and to sell these in a responsible manner with the aim of replacing cigarettes as quickly as possible.
This article is a public service advertisement financed by Philip Morris Magyarország Kft.
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