IQOS items sold by Philip Morris, soon to be by Altria Group
Health advocates and tobacco foes are objecting to a possible reunion of Altria Group and Philip Morris International, on grounds that it would make one company the market leader in smoking, “vaping” and tobacco heaters, a nicotine-delivery device coming soon to the U.S.
“It would be the worst nightmare for public health if they were to join forces,” Matt Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, told Bloomberg News Aug. 5, three weeks before the rumored merger talks were announced. “They won’t care what people use as long as they use one of them.” Myers said Sept. 4 that the reunion would give the new company more power to influence government policy, especially over electronic cigarettes, which are freshly controversial.
Cliff Douglas, vice president of tobacco control at the American Cancer Society, told Bloomberg, “We would strongly prefer these companies remain separate,” because in merger, “They would have every incentive to use their strengthened position to ensure that e-cigarettes are designed and marketed in a way that constitutes no real threat to cigarettes.”