Although it should have been major news, Philip Morris International’s announcement to stop producing cigarettes in Greece has had little impact. Today, the American tobacco company has decided to put all of its financial, material, and human resource energy into the production of IQOS, the electronic device for heated tobacco. This is a risk that will inevitably affect the company’s future.
On March 20, the management of Philip Morris announced that its facilities located in Aspropyros in Greece will now be completely devoted to IQOS production. The company, founded 1931, had the largest tobacco factory in the country, producing 12 billion cigarettes per year. Far from being obsolete, the factory benefitted from numerous investments totalling an estimated 700 million Euros in revenue since 2003. Today, the American company declared that more than 300 million Euros have been allotted to the creation of three new buildings devoted to IQOS.
The works that started in the summer of 2017 should be finished by the end of 2018. An additional 400 jobs will be created. More than 10,000 tobacco heating devices will be produced every minute. This amounts to over 1.5 billion units per year.
A major turning point for Philip Morris
The Aspropyros site is not the only major test site for IQOS. The factory in Bologna has also been converted, and other factories throughout the world will be modified to produce the new flagship product for the American brand.
André Calantzopoulos, direction of Philip Morris’ international branch, said, “We are working for the health of 1.1 billion smokers.” (sic) By promoting a world without cigarettes, the company is taking considerable risks. They have already invested more than 4.5 billion dollars in the project since beginning IQOS development in 2008. But the FDA, the US Food and Drug Administration, have not recognized the supposed health benefits of IQOS. The latest studies also highlight the device’s myriad dangers.