Philip Morris sets P8.8B ‘smoke-free’ investments

Philip Morris International is investing P8.8 billion or approximately $150 million in its Philippine affiliate PMFTC Inc. to open manufacturing lines for specially-designed heated tobacco sticks for its smoke-free products.

The investment, which is expected to span a two-year period, could generate as much as 220 new specialized jobs and will further support the local tobacco-growing industry.

PMI’s investment is also the first major investment by a tobacco multinational in the category domestically.

The company said its investment will be the largest to date in the cigarette alternative category in the country and brings PMFTC a step closer to achieving its vision of a smoke-free Philippines.

“We are proud to invest in the country’s journey to finally rid society of cigarettes, by providing better alternatives to those who would otherwise continue to smoke, while helping generate revenues for the government and livelihood opportunities for the people,” PMFTC president Denis Gorkun said.

HQ adds a wing

The investment will include an expansion wing at PMFTC’s state-of-the art factory in Tanauan City, Batangas. Actual commercial production is expected to commence in the fourth quarter of 2023.

Locally grown tobacco has also been approved for inclusion in the production of heated tobacco sticks. This development is expected to help sustain the livelihoods of Filipino tobacco farmers and sari-sari store owners.

“Through PMI’s continued investment in research, development and production, we can now heat tobacco in a way that is satisfying to adult smokers. Using sophisticated electronics, IQOS precisely heats specially designed tobacco units just enough to release a flavorful nicotine -containing vapor,” Gorkun said.

In 2020, PMFTC Inc. launched the IQOS tobacco heating system, PMI’s flagship smoke -free product, in the Philippines. IQOS devices use a patented HeatControl technology that precisely heats, without burning, tobacco-filled sticks wrapped in a paper called HEETS to release a water-based aerosol. Unlike cigarettes, IQOS does not burn tobacco and therefore produces no smoke and no ash.

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