World's second-largest cigarette manufacturer to stop selling cigarettes

One of the titans of big tobacco has vowed to stop selling cigarettes in the United Kingdom. 

In an unprecedented move, Marlboro creator Phillip Morris International has run full-page adverts in several British newspapers with the heading: "Our New Year's resolution - We're trying to give up cigarettes."

"Phillip Morris is known for cigarettes," the ad reads. "Every year, many smokers give them up. Now it's our turn".

The company go on to say that "there are 7.6 million" adults who smoke in the UK and that "the best action they can take is quitting".

The company seem fully aware of how counterintuitive their campaign is: "No cigarette company has done anything like this before. You might wonder if we really mean it - we do."

The tobacco giant has vowed to launch a website and campaign to provide information on quitting and alternatives to cigarettes.

In addition to the website, the company is offering to support "local authority cessation services where smoking rates are highest". 

The company will also seek government approval to insert information on quitting directly into their cigarette packs, as well as expanding the availability of "alternative products" such as vaping. 

Philip Morris is the world's second-largest tobacco company with over NZ$30 billion in sales last year. Its annual production is over 800 billion cigarettes, enough for three packs each for every human on earth.

The World Health Organisation estimates 7 million people die annually from smoking, or roughly 19,000 people a day. 

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World's second-largest cigarette manufacturer to stop selling cigarettes
Photo credit: Phillip Morris International.