Tobacco manufacturer Philip Morris said earlier this week in England that smoking could be banned within ten years.

A remarkable call from a company that is largely dependent on the proceeds of cigarettes and rolling tobacco.

Why does Philip Morris say that?

And if the company wants to stop smoking, why not just stop producing?

What exactly did Philip Morris say?

The tobacco company, which markets the Marlboro brand and is a global market leader, has said it could stop selling cigarettes in the UK in 10 years.

The condition is that politicians come up with a national ban and that there is an exception for alternative products, such as e-cigarettes.

A spokesperson for the company reports that it also wants to move to a society without smokers in the Netherlands as soon as possible.

Why is the company saying this?

It seems quite contradictory?

Philip Morris recognizes that smoking is bad for your health.

It knows that regular cigarettes have had their day.

It has therefore developed various alternatives, for example e-cigarettes and products in which the tobacco is heated, but not burned.

As a result, fewer harmful substances are released during use.

If you still want to continue smoking, it would be better for Philip Morris to switch to these products.

Worldwide, they are already responsible for a quarter of the company's turnover and that should be half in four years.

The statements came under criticism from many anti-also organizations.

Marc Willemsen, tobacco control expert at the Trimbos Institute, also finds Philip Morris' statements rather "gratuitous".

"It's easy to say something like that, because the ban will not come anyway. There is no country that has introduced such a ban. In England there are relatively few smokers anyway, less than in the Netherlands, for example, and they buy more alternative products. Products."

That is why, according to him, it is no coincidence that Philip Morris made the statements in England.

He mainly sees the statements as a means to improve the image.

"In many countries, those alternatives are not popular at all, especially in the poorer countries. Most people still smoke normal cigarettes there. Most of the turnover still comes from traditional tobacco. Moreover, if Philip Morris wants to stop selling cigarettes, Can't they just stop making them?

Why doesn't Philip Morris do that?

The company, like the Dutch association for tobacconists NSO Retail, thinks that if Philip Morris stops marketing cigarettes, the customer will simply switch to another brand.

That is why the tobacco company is calling for a national ban, so that all producers are forced to stop.

An exception must therefore be made for alternative products, such as e-cigarettes.

And sellers should be given the space to inform smokers about those products.

Are those alternatives really healthier?

You cannot really speak of 'healthier' in this case.

'Less unhealthy' might be a better description.

But there are indeed studies showing that electronic cigarettes or products that heat the tobacco are less harmful.

Its use has increased in recent years.

For example, NSO chairman Jos Zuijdwijk estimates that 10 percent of the turnover of smoking products in the Netherlands comes from alternative products.

Willemsen believes that e-cigarettes and similar products are not part of the solution.

"Those products are still harmful to humans and they still contain nicotine. That keeps you addicted. You go from rain to drop."