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    Retailers unhappy as PMI raises prices without warning

    Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images

    Philip Morris International (PMI) increased the price of all its tobacco products by 35p last week without giving any prior warning to retailers.

    Fed trustee Nilesh Patel pointed out that retailers were not warned or notified beforehand about the price rise which led to inconvenience to retailers who had gone to cash and carry to procure the products.

    “We only found out on Friday (7) about the price increase. That meant anyone going to the cash and carry that day had no idea about it,” Patel said.

    “Retailers should have been notified a couple of weeks in advance to prepare themselves – not after the event. PMI hasn’t handled this well at all. I suggest members should complain about this next time their rep comes into their shop.”

    The news comes months after exceptional remark by Jacek Olczak, Chief Executive Officer of Philip Morris International Inc. (PMI) at the UnHerd Club in London, calling on governments globally to accelerate the end of cigarettes.

    In his remarks to global media, politicians, and policymakers, Olczak shared that “cigarettes belong in museums” but that current policies to reduce smoking prevalence are not working fast enough and may be prolonging smoking.

    “I’m moving Philip Morris International out of cigarettes, but the faster I go, the more people shout at me. Our mission is clear: to reduce smoking by replacing cigarettes with less harmful alternatives. Cigarettes belong in museums.

    “Since 2016, my company has fully committed to moving away from cigarettes, the most harmful form of nicotine consumption. We have invested more than 10.5 billion U.S. dollars in developing and commercializing smoke-free products—which today account for nearly 35 percent of our total net revenues,” Olczak stated.

    Drawing upon a new hypothetical model based on World Health Organization data, estimates, and methods, as well as other third party data, Olczak explained that even if smoke-free products were assumed to be only 80 percent less risky than cigarettes, if people who currently smoke were to switch to them completely, then over their lifetime there’s a potential for a tenfold reduction in smoking-attributable deaths compared with historical tobacco control measures alone.

    He highlighted the absurd paradox that smoke-free products are banned in some countries while cigarettes—despite their far greater risk of harm—can still be sold. While this model has limitations and is built on assumptions, the public health cost of ignoring the potential of smoke-free products could be immense.

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