COVID VaccinesReturn to WorkMental Health

CEO of tobacco giant Philip Morris calls for ban on cigarettes within decade

July 26, 2021, 5:18 PM UTC

Jacek Olczak, CEO of tobacco giant Philip Morris International, is turning his back on the company’s most profitable product.

In an interview with the Daily Mail, Olczak said the U.K. government should ban cigarettes in the next 10 years, adding “the sooner it happens, the better it is for everyone.”

Saying the company could “see a world without cigarettes,” Olczak said Philip Morris’ focus these days was on smoke-free alternatives. The company earlier this month announced plans to buy British pharmaceutical company Vectura Group for $1.2 billion—an announcement that was met with opposition by some lawmakers as well as anti-smoking groups.

The move could mean an end to the flagship Marlboro brand in England.

“The first choice for consumers is they should quit smoking,” he said. “But if they don’t, the second best choice is to let them switch to the better alternatives.”

Olczak’s statement isn’t exactly out of the blue. The British government has already unveiled a road map to make the country “smoke free” by 2030.

Philip Morris is hardly abandoning the lucrative smoking market. The company is instead promotion e-cigarettes and similar devices, which do not produce second-hand smoke, one of the many big concerns about traditional cigarettes.

Philip Morris International does not sell or market combustible cigarettes in the U.S. Altria, a separate company following a 2008 corporate spin, markets Marlboro (and other brands) in the U.S.

Subscribe to Fortune Daily to get essential business stories straight to your inbox each morning.