The world-renowned cigarette manufacturer Philip Morris recently made a baffling statement. It was during the World Economic Forum, held in Davos, Switzerland, that Philip Morris asked governments for support in their efforts to reduce smoking rates worldwide.
Since 1971, the city of Davos has hosted a forum to help steer corporate values towards the interest of the public. The event gathers over 2800 influential people in the world of finance, industry, and politics, to discuss new ways to improve the health and well-being of citizens thanks to innovation and technology.
During the latest edition of the international forum, Marian Salzman, spokesperson for Philip Morris, discussed the thesis statement of the book “Public Health – Much Harder than Rocket Science”. The non-fiction publication was based on a large research project by Ipsos at the request of the American cigarette manufacturer. The study focused on the link between public health and technology, and involved 30,000 participants across 31 countries. 91% of survey participants believe that technology and innovation must move towards improving health and well-being for all. 56% of the sample stated that public authorities failed to utilize industry progress to help the populations of their nations.
A three-party collaboration
For Marian Salzman, the situation is crystal clear. To promote public health, all those concerned by the issue must join forces, that is to say smokers, companies, but also governments.
According to her, the tobacco industry is not responsible for the tobacco addiction epidemic. Cigarette manufacturers provide a product to meet the demand of consumers, who despite the dangers keep smoking.
She also stated that developing new products can help smokers change their habits. However, Salzman added that it is imperative that public authorities work with companies to ensure a positive outcome for public health. The Philip Morris representative concluded with an analogy, taking electric vehicles as an example. Indeed, collaboration between governments and industry led to the creation of vehicles that emit a great deal less pollution.