May 6, 2020

STATEMENT: Michel Legendre’s question at Philip Morris International annual meeting

“Marlboro, I’m sure that when I say the word Marlboro, many people around the world, people in this call, will first imagine the cigarette. Likely what follows next is the red Chevron on a pack of cigarettes. What may follow after that is the rugged image of the Marlboro Man with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth. By 2015, four of the people that took on the Marlboro Man role had died from tobacco-related diseases. A haunting irony for a since retired imagery commonly used by Philip Morris International to market it’s most prominent brand. The Marlboro Man has become synonymous with smoking cigarettes. And Marlboro is the most important brand to Philip Morris International.

In PMI’s own reporting Marlboro, the world’s best-selling international cigarette, accounted for approximately 37% of PMI’s total 2019 cigarette shipment volume. Marlboro by itself accounted for 10% of the international cigarette market. What’s concerning is why Marlboro, and to a lesser extent Parliament, is now being marketed as part of the heated tobacco products you offer commonly associated with your line of Heet packaging.

PMI has touted many times how it is committed to this transformation away from cigarettes. Your Chief Operating Officer, Jacek Olczak, is quoted as saying “When I see negativism around PMI and our new mission, I always give the benefit of the doubt (…) maybe they’re still judging us based on the past (…). I joined PMI 26 years ago”. Well I think many of us doubt a future shedding cigarettes when PMI just can’t seem to let go of it’s best-selling cigarette brand, Marlboro. And to now draw the cigarette laden association of Marlboro to your new IQOS products it leaves an important question, is IQOS Philip Morris’ attempt at truly phasing out cigarettes or another product in the Marlboro portfolio? Is PMI ready to give up Marlboro for good?”

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