We thought Mars telling consumers to eat less Dolmio sauce was a pretty bold strategy but that has nothing on Philip Morris CEO André Calantzopoulos. This week, as he announced the launch of Iqos - a system that heats rather than burns tobacco - he envisioned for the first time a future for the industry without cigarettes.
It sounds like the proverbial turkeys voting for Christmas, but with plain packs coming, PMI believes it has a game-changing product that is 90% less harmful while still delivering the tobacco taste so many smokers still crave - and crucially the revenues PMI needs to make money.
Iqos isn’t going to change the world overnight but it hopes the technology will eventually replace the traditional cigarette with a genuinely healthier alternative and the death of the ciggie could follow quite quickly.
PMI, like all the big tobacco companies, is looking to future-proof itself by being on the ground floor of these changes. It’s not going to be giving up the fags just yet but it’s encouraging to know it’s thinking about it.