Philip Morris aims to replace cigarettes 'as fast as possible', company says

Tobacco company Philip Morris International is paving the way to a world free of cigarettes with a non-combustible alternative, according to its CEO.

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“We are doing something very dramatic—we want to replace cigarettes with smoke-free products as fast as possible,” Philip Morris International states as one of its goals.

Instead of burning tobacco, the alternative is called IQOS. IQOS heats the tobacco to a temperature of 350 degrees Celsius, at which point, the tobacco releases its taste without combusting, according to Philip Morris International. The company claims this lower temperature and lack of combustion reduces the levels of chemicals released compared to those released in cigarette smoke.

Picture of IQOS a new heat-not-burn tobacco product technology produced by Philip Morris International in Neuchatel, Switzerland

“It’s combustion in the cigarette that causes the toxicants," Philip Morris International CEO André Calantzopoulos told FOX Business' Maria Bartiromo on Tuesday. "It’s the fact that we burn tobacco or any other organic matter. Nicotine is addictive, but it's widely recognized [that it] is not an issue in terms of disease genesis."

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The CDC suggests 14 percent of Americans aged 18 or older—or 34.3 million adults—smoked cigarettes as of 2017. This, according to the government agency, is a 6.9 percent decline from 2005.

“The taste and nicotine delivery [of IQOS] are slightly different, but they’re [as] close as possible to cigarettes,” Calantzopoulos said on “Mornings with Maria.”

Picture of the IQOS 3 version, a new heat-not-burn tobacco product technology produced by Philip Morris International in Neuchatel, Switzerland

IQOS is available in 51 markets across the world currently and almost 30 million use them.

“[IQOS has] the highest conversion rate of any alternative to cigarettes,” Calantzopoulos said.

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Philip Morris International currently has 150 million consumers of its tobacco brands—which includes Marlboro—worldwide and employs over 400 scientists, engineers, and technicians working on smoke-free products, according to the company.