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Philip Morris International CEO Vows to Stop Selling Cigarettes in the U.K.

Philip Morris International CEO pledges to stop selling cigarettes in the U.K. within a decade as the company moves toward becoming a 'healthcare and wellness company.'

The CEO of Philip Morris International  (PM) , one of the biggest global cigarette makers and producer of the still-globally popular Marlboro brand, has pledged to stop selling cigarettes in the U.K. within a decade as the company moves toward becoming a healthcare and wellness company.”

"We can see the world without cigarettes," Philip Morris International CEO Jacek Olczak told the U.K.’s The Mail newspaper on Sunday. "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."

Olczak also called on the U.K. government to outlaw cigarettes within a decade, comparing them to gas-powered cars, which are set to be barred from being sold in the country starting in 2030. 

Speaking to The Sunday Telegraph, Olczak said that government action in the U.K. would help to end the confusion currently felt by smokers, some of whom still think that the “alternatives are worse than cigarettes.”

Philip Morris International is separate from Philip Morris USA, which makes Marlboro cigarettes in the U.S. and is a division of the American tobacco corporation Altria  (MO)

It split from Philip Morris USA in 2008 and recently announced plans to transform into a smoke-free company, as well as its intention to buy the British pharmaceutical company Vectura Group, which makes asthma inhalers.

Altria at one point owned 35% of e-cigarette maker Juul, which in December 2018 was valued at $38 billion. It has since written off its $12.8 billion investment amid backlash on how Juul was marketing smokeless smoking devices to teenagers.

Philip Morris International has said that it wants half of its turnover to come from products which are not related to smoking as it becomes a “healthcare and wellness company,” with intentions to “unsmoke the world” and phase out cigarettes.

at last check, shares of Philip Morris International were unchanged at $98.40. Shares of Altria Group were also unchanged at $47.26.