RICHMOND, Va. Philip Morris International Inc. said Wednesday it plans to enter the growing electronic cigarette business late next year and accelerate the launch of its reduced risk products.
How e cigarettes have become a very wild west industry in Canada
E cigarettes have become an exploding industry, worth nearly $2 billion in the U.S. alone, a market that some analysts project will eventually surpass that of traditional cigarettes.
But here, Health Canada has not approved nicotine e cigarettes, creating a regulatory grey zone.
The seller of Marlboro and other cigarette brands overseas is joining many tobacco companies venturing into smokeless tobacco and other nicotine products to diversify beyond the declining traditional cigarette business as tax increases, health concerns, smoking bans and stigma cut into demand.
Electronic cigarettes are battery powered devices that heat a liquid nicotine solution, creating vapour that users inhale. The category has grown from thousands of users in 2006 to several million worldwide.
Philip Morris International s first foray into the electronic cigarette business will be similar to current products on the market but will offer an an improved taste, CEO Andre Calantzopoulos said Wednesday at the Morgan Stanley Global Consumer Conference in New York. Calantzopoulos said the company is entering the market to get first hand understanding of the category and help shape the regulatory debate.
Company executives in July had dismissed electronic cigarettes, saying they aren t a product that s very close to a traditional cigarette and said it was much more the phenomena of the price than anything else.
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While the future of e cigarettes should be an attractive category for adult consumers, the company believes its next generation products will be more attractive to cigarette smokers, Calantzopoulos said.
The company is developing products that heat tobacco in a cigarette with a controlled heating mechanism or an aerosol nicotine delivery system. It plans to pilot test its next generation products late next year and launch a product that heats tobacco instead of burning it in 2015, ahead of its previously expected launch between 2016 and 2017.
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Our first objective is the development of a series of reduced risk products that provide adult smokers with the taste, sensory experience, nicotine delivery profile and ritual characteristics that match as close as possible those of cigarettes, Calantzopoulos said, adding that the company recently conducted a consumer test in Asia that showed broad appeal for different adult smokers in term of price and taste.
Philip Morris International, based in New York and Switzerland, is the world s second biggest cigarette seller behind state controlled China National Tobacco Corp.
Altria Group Inc. in Richmond, Va., the owner of Philip Morris USA, spun off Philip Morris International as a separate company in 2008. Altria is the largest U.S. cigarette seller.
The Associated Press
At least four marlboro men have died of smoking-related diseases – los angeles times
Wayne McLaren died of lung cancer in 1992 at age 51 after 25 years of smoking. His modeling job with Marlboro was followed by an anti smoking campaign that lasted until his death.
“I’ve spent the last month of my life in an incubator and I’m telling you, it’s just not worth it,” McLaren told a Los Angeles Times reporter from his deathbed in Newport Beach, where he lay with several tubes connected to his body.
After he died a week later, his mother, Louise, told The Times that some of McLaren’s last words were, “Take care of the children. Tobacco will kill you, and I am living proof of it.”
McLaren had waged an anti smoking war against Marlboro and its owner, Phillip Morris, complaining that the ads targeted kids, “the only target the companies have left.”
By the late 1990s, Marlboro’s ads were so effective and pervasive that one study suggested that more than 90% of schoolchildren knew who the Marlboro Man was.
Another Marlboro Man from California, David McLean, died of lung cancer at 73 in the UCLA Medical Center in 1995. His widow later sued Philip Morris, contending that McLean had to smoke pack after pack of cigarettes during Marlboro shoots so directors could create the perfect scene.
“During the taping of the commercials, David McLean was obligated to smoke Marlboro cigarettes,” the 1996 lawsuit said. “The commercials were very carefully orchestrated, and David McLean was required to smoke up to five packs per take in order to get the ashes to fall a certain way, the smoke to rise a certain way and the hand to hold the cigarette in a certain way.”
Years later, the McLean lawsuit was thrown out when a federal judge ruled that California law in those days, more protective of tobacco companies protected Phillip Morris from Lilo McLean’s claims. McLean was billed for the costs of the lawsuit.
A spokesperson for Phillip Morris did not respond to a request for comment from the Los Angeles Times for this story.
By the time the McLean lawsuit ran its course, the Marlboro Man campaign had concluded its decades long run in the U.S. media.
Cigarette use had continued a long plummet among Americans, which began with a groundbreaking 1964 U.S. Surgeon General report on smoking’s harmful effects.
But the Marlboro Man was finally finished off by the 1998 Master Settlement between tobacco companies and state attorneys general, which forbade the companies to use humans or cartoons on tobacco advertising in the U.S.
“The Marlboro Man will be riding into the sunset on Joe Camel,” Florida Atty. Gen. Robert Butterworth quipped to reporters after the deal was reached.
Lawson, the actor from San Luis Obispo, had done his part in later years to make up for the smoking ads that he’d done with Marlboro, at one point appearing in an anti smoking ad that parodied the Marlboro Man.
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