US tobacco giant Philip Morris has announced that it will invest over 1 billion zloty (€214 million) in the Polish city of Kraków for the production of the tobacco sticks that are used in its IQOS heated tobacco units.
“Poland has always played a strategic role for us,” said Michał Mierzejewski, vice president of Philip Morris International (PMI) for Northeast Europe, quoted by the Rzeczpospolita daily. He noted that the firm has since 1996 invested over 25 billion zloty in Poland, including in an existing factory in Kraków.
Mierzejewski said that the firm would now focus on “production of a new generation of heated tobacco sticks” in Kraków, including for its IQOS brand. He promised that the investment would “create many new, highly specialised jobs”, though added that full details would only be announced in the coming months.
Poland’s largest retail chain, Żabka, has withdrawn a promotion offering discounted snacks when purchasing cigarettes.
The decision came after the health ministry announced it was taking action against the firm for violating the ban on advertising tobacco https://t.co/v0JL3UgZO6
— Notes from Poland 🇵🇱 (@notesfrompoland) May 9, 2023
PMI, whose most famous brand is Marlboro, now has “Delivering a Smoke-free Future” as its corporate slogan. Announcing the Kraków investment, Mierzejewski recalled the words of PMI’s CEO, Jacek Olczak, earlier this year that “cigarettes belong in museums”.
“We believe that cigarettes can be sent there within 10-15 years,” said Mierzejewski. But he added that, while it is healthier not to use tobacco at all, if that is not possible then non-cigarette alternatives, such as heated tobacco, are less harmful.
The World Health Organization (WHO), however, has expressed scepticism about such claims, noting that the research they are based on is mostly funded by the tobacco industry itself.
Both the WHO and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) note that more independent research is needed on the long-term health effects of heated tobacco. But the CDC points out that any tobacco products are harmful and that heated tobacco has not been shown to help smokers quit.
The number of smokers continues to fall in Poland, which three decades ago had the highest cigarette consumption in the world.
Younger Poles are now much less likely to smoke than their counterparts elsewhere in the EU https://t.co/DHktCssu6q
— Notes from Poland 🇵🇱 (@notesfrompoland) February 15, 2021
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Main image credit: SimonDes/Wikimedia Commons (under CC BY-SA 4.0)
Daniel Tilles is editor-in-chief of Notes from Poland. He has written on Polish affairs for a wide range of publications, including Foreign Policy, POLITICO Europe, EUobserver and Dziennik Gazeta Prawna.