Jacek Olczak, who runs the company behind the Marlboro brand, said the firm wants to “see the world without cigarettes… and actually, the sooner it happens, the better it is for everyone.”
Olczak went on to say that cigarettes should be treated like petrol cars, which the government plans to ban the sale of by 2030.
He told the Mail on Sunday: “I want to allow this company to leave smoking behind. I think in the UK, ten years from now maximum, you can completely solve the problem of smoking.”
When asked if this meant the company would stop selling traditional cigarettes, he replied: “Absolutely.”
Olczak insists that banning the sale of tobacco products will eliminate any false beliefs that smoking alternatives are worse for people’s health than tobacco.
Speaking to The Sunday Telegraph, Olczak said: “Give them a choice of smoke-free alternatives… with the right regulation and information it can happen 10 years from now in some countries. You can solve the problem once and forever.”
He added: “The first choice for consumers is they should quit smoking.
“But if they don’t, the second-best choice is to let them switch to the better alternatives.”
PMI has previously said that it wants half its turnover to come from non-smoking products as it makes the transition into a “healthcare and wellness company” with a mission to “unsmoke the world”.
Even so, the organisation has faced harsh criticism from anti-smoking campaigners who have accused it of deceptive tactics following its £1 billion takeover of Vectura, a British company that manufactures asthma inhalers.
PMI and other tobacco companies have been accused of marketing themselves as the solution to lethal smoking while continuing to push the cancer sticks.
Smoking, including secondhand, kills approximately eight million people every year, according to figures published by the World Health Organisation.
In a bid to retain their control of the market, tobacco companies have been shifting to the sale of cigarette alternatives including vapes and e-cigarettes.
PMI is currently pushing the iQOS – a battery-powered device that heats a small nicotine stick that produces vapour instead of smoke.
The company says that the device is less harmful than traditional cigarettes because it does not produce the smoke and tar that causes cancer.
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