World’s Biggest Tobacco Company Wants Smokers to Quit (and Vape Instead)

World’s Biggest Tobacco Company Wants Smokers to Quit (and Vape Instead)

We don’t often hear good news about the tobacco industry, but now there’s a stellar development in the cigarette world and the war on tobacco that claims millions of lives each year.

Philip Morris, the largest of several giant tobacco companies and maker of the famous Marlboro brand, has launched a multimillion-dollar campaign in the UK to urge smokers to give up their unhealthy habit and go smoke-free. However, it’s not entirely altruistic. The New York-based company, which had global revenue of $78.1 billion last year, wants smokers to use its e-cigarettes instead.

The initiative, called Hold My Light, is backed by a £2-million fund that’s being spent on a website and advertising, online and in print. It offers information and support to help people stub out for good and easily quit with vaping. “This campaign breaks new ground, which is an important next step in our company going smoke-free and ultimately stop selling cigarettes,” said Philip Morris managing director Peter Nixon.

“There are more options than ever before for smokers to give up cigarettes but often they don’t realise that alternatives, like e-cigarettes and heated tobacco, are a better choice than continuing to smoke,” he said. “Our research has shown that smokers want personal support from friends and family if they are to give up cigarettes — and that is what Hold My Light is designed to offer.”

Smoking Declining, Vaping Rising

It’s no surprise that Philip Morris targeted Britain for the newly launched stop-smoking campaign — the market for tobacco in the United Kingdom is drying up. While there are still around 9.4 million smokers in the four-country nation comprising England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, the numbers have been steadily falling.

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Much of this is attributed to the relative ease with which smokers can use e-cigarettes to quit. Starter vape kits are inexpensive and easily available from a good vape store — they provide the nicotine that smokers crave with none of the thousands of toxic chemicals given off by burning tobacco. Now, there are around 3 million people who regularly vape in the UK, many of them former smokers who have managed to stay off cigarettes because of vapes.

Indeed, health authorities in the UK have begun advising smokers to quit by using e-cigarettes. This year’s annual Stoptober campaign, run by the National Health Service, advised smokers for the second year running that vaping is one of the easiest ways to quit tobacco and stay off it. “Thousands of people in England have already stopped smoking with the help of an e-cigarette,” the campaign said this year. “Plus, those who combine an e-cigarette with help from their local Stop Smoking Service have a high chance of success. In 2017-18, two-thirds of smokers who did so managed to stop smoking.”

A Way to Go Smoke-Free

According to Philip Morris’ Hold My Light campaign, vaping is “a new way to go smoke-free” and its support and resources can be used by people who want to help a friend or a family member quit smoking. “Hold My Light is about giving up cigarettes for 30 days. If you do it for a month, you’re five times more likely to do it for good. And it introduces support from the people around you, which could increase your chance of succeeding.”

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Essentially, the program involves four steps — deciding to quit for 30 days, choosing the best way to give up cigarettes (with vaping as the top suggestion), creating a profile on the Hold My Light website and inviting people you know to comment on your progress and help you to stay motivated. Then you keep at it, sharing your experience and reaping the rewards of giving up smoking for good.

Cigarettes’ days sure seem like they’re numbered, as even the big companies realise they’re deadly for their business.