Philip Morris says cigarette sales in many places could end in a decade and they’ve got a ‘safer’ product to replace them

Philip Morris International Inc. thinks the sale of cigarettes could come to an end in countries around the world in the coming years, but have no fear, because they’ve got another product ready to sell that offers a “safer” nicotine fix.

Philip Morris

and the Food and Drug Administration announced this week that the company’s IQOS “electrically heated tobacco system” has been given the green light to market as a safer alternative to cigarettes.

Now designated as a “modified risk” product, the company can promote these items “as containing a reduced level of or presenting a reduced exposure to a substance,” according to the FDA statement.

Philip Morris, the company behind Marlboro cigarettes, describes these alternative products as heating rather than burning tobacco, which a cigarette does. Burning tobacco, which reaches 600 degrees Celsius, “contains high levels of harmful chemicals,” according to the company’s website. The tobacco heating system (THS) heats tobacco to 350 degrees Celsius.

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“However, THS is not risk-free and delivers nicotine which is addictive,” the site says. Philip Morris has turned its focus to the IQOS product, with Philip Morris’ Chief Operating Officer Jacek Olczak saying at the Deutsche Bank dbAccess Global Consumer Conference last month that the company is committed to “working towards realizing [the] potential of this opportunity,” according to a FactSet transcript.

The development comes at a time when Philip Morris is preparing for the end of cigarette sales.

“I am convinced that it is possible to completely end cigarette sales in many countries within 10 to 15 years, but for that to happen, manufacturers and governments need to work in the same direction,” said André Calantzopoulos, chief executive of Philip Morris, in a letter to stakeholders published with the company’s report on its environmental, social and governance (ESG) efforts.

Calantzopoulos notes the “skeptical stakeholders” like international organizations and the media that “doubt that harm reduction through smoke-free alternatives is sound public health policy or argue that our purpose-driven strategy is nothing more than window dressing.”

He highlights other areas where advice to reduce a hazardous activity is accepted, such as lowering sugar intake for better health.

“I feel strongly that people who smoke cigarettes, the most harmful nicotine-containing product, should not be denied the opportunity to switch to better alternatives,” Calantzopoulos wrote.

In 2019, Philip Morris sold 706.7 billion cigarettes, down 4.5% from 2018, according to a June CFRA report. Over the next few years, CFRA forecasts that cigarette consumption will fall 3% each year.

Shipments of heated tobacco products, on the other hand, soared 44.2% to 59.7 billion units in 2019.

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There had been discussions about merging Philip Morris and Altria Group Inc.

, however those talks ended without a deal. This is a good thing for Philip Morris “given heightened regulatory and legal headwinds surrounding e-cigarettes in the U.S., as Philip Morris’ IQOS product underwent a lengthy FDA review process before getting the green light for sale in the U.S. in April 2019,” CFRA said.

CFRA rates Philip Morris stock buy with a 12-month price target of $95.

“Despite declining cigarette consumption in developed markets, we look for pricing gains and growth in emerging markets to support revenues,” CFRA said. “We think the launch of Philip Morris’ heated tobacco product, IQOS, will lead to market share gains and help offset cigarette volume weakness.”

The company reported earnings and revenue that beat expectations in the most recent quarter. The stock is down 15.1% for the year to date while the Dow Jones Industrial Average

has fallen 9.3% for the period.

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While the cigarette business was hurt by restrictions imposed by coronavirus-related lockdowns and plummeting duty-free demand at global travel hubs, Olczak said on the April earnings call that device and heated tobacco sales were showing the potential to regain pre-COVID momentum.

Philip Morris’ goal now is to move into a “smoke-free future,” said Huub Savelkouls, the company’s chief sustainability officer, in a post on LinkedIn. Philip Morris has cut its cigarette portfolio by more than 700 SKUs (stock-keeping units) over the last four years and aims to move 40 million smokers of its cigarettes over to smoke-free products.

Savelkouls says engagement, including between the company and the investment community, is needed to achieve change.

“Making cigarettes obsolete can be achieved much more rapidly through inclusivity and openness,” Savelkouls wrote. “Our goals are really not that different and that is where the potential for creating impactful change lies: working together towards making the world smoke-free.”

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Rethinking big city life? Here are 8 smaller places that still have the urban perks

Over the past few months, the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted many people to re-examine their living situations. Amid shutdowns, for instance, having easy access to open space — or a backyard at the very least — emerged as a new priority for many. Meanwhile, the economic turmoil accompanying the pandemic gave city-dwellers reason to question whether it’s really worth paying a premium to live in a big, crowded metropolis.

A recent national survey by Ipsos found that 42% of people have either moved or thought about moving since March, and rural areas, small and midsize cities were their top choices.

Becoming a suburbanite, or transitioning to small-town living, doesn’t mean you need to completely abandon life as an urbanite, though. Some of the country’s best small and midsize towns are within proximity of major metropolises. That means you can enjoy the wide open spaces and quaint downtowns, but still zip into the big city for amenities and attractions (when they reopen, of course) like pro sports, malls, museums and amusement parks.

Ahead, eight awesome small cities that are close to big cities — so you can enjoy the best of both worlds.

1. Castle Rock, Colorado (population, 64,827)

Proximity to Denver: 30 miles

A southern suburb of Denver, residents in Castle Rock enjoy wide open spaces (5,475 acres of it, to be exact) with the snow-capped Rocky Mountains serving up a glorious backdrop. Plus, the city sets itself apart with ultra unique amenities like “Challenge Hill,” an outdoor, 200-step incline (think: a stair stepper, but make it scenic), golf courses galore, horseback riding trails and a growing craft brewery scene. A straight shot north on I-25 takes you to Denver, where you’ll find restaurants captained by James Beard Award-winning chefs, more breweries, world-class museums, pro sports teams and funky dive bars dotting Colfax and Broadway.

2. Ann Arbor, Mich. (population, 113,998)

Proximity to Detroit: 45 miles

Ann Arbor, Michigan

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Small town charm collides with collegiate charisma in Ann Arbor. Here, the beloved Literati Bookstore bestows upon the community a public typewriter where customers can write anonymous letters and inspiring messages. Installed on some businesses and homes are tiny fairy doors — architectural doubles of human-sized doors — to serve as portals for the mythical creatures bringing magic and whimsy to Ann Arbor.

Perusing the farmers markets, catching a festival or cheering on the Wolverines can easily fill up weekends in Ann Arbor, which you can rightfully call by its nickname, A-squared, once you live here. But in less than an hour, you can also be in downtown Detroit, enjoying an incredible arts scene and cultural gems like the Motown Museum and the General Motors Center for African American Art inside the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Also read: With New York City offices still closed, companies consider downsizing—or heading for the suburbs

For an architectural case study on the future of stadiums, pay a visit to Little Caesars Arena, where the Pistons and Red Wings play. The deconstructed layout allows for restaurants and retailers to be connected to the stadium, and remain open even when no games or concerts are scheduled.

3. Santa Fe, N.M. (population 84,612) 

Proximity to Albuquerque: 65 miles

Santa Fe, New Mexico

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An artistic wonderland packed with art festivals, galleries and wildly inventive margaritas, Santa Fe has rightfully established itself as “The City Different.” Several time-honored traditions bring residents together here, including the Canyon Road Farolito Walk during Christmastime, Santa Fe Opera tailgating, and a consensus that green chile reigns supreme. But Santa Fe goes to bed pretty early, so if you’re looking for a night out on the town, slip away to downtown Albuquerque. Even better? A $10 train ticket can transport you between the two cities. With a population of 560,200, Albuquerque reigns as New Mexico’s biggest city. Old Town features dining and artisan shops, plus the city has a botanical garden, brewpubs in Nob Hill and a bona fide nightlife scene that keeps Central Ave. thrumming with youthful energy.

4. Gettysburg, Penn. (population: 7,633)

Proximity to Baltimore: 50 miles; proximity to Washington, D.C.: 80 miles; proximity to Philadelphia: 110 miles

You’re already familiar with Gettysburg because of its historical significance and its famed landmarks like Gettysburg National Military Park. But there’s plenty of farm-to-table bounty here, with unpretentious and delicious eateries and cideries. A regional Pie Trail epitomizes small town living, right? But the beauty of Gettysburg is that depending on which way you venture, you can end up in some of the East Coast’s biggest cities. The historic city is within proximity of Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Philadelphia, so you’ll never run out of weekend getaways to experience big-city arts, culture and sports.

5. Asheville, N.C. (population: 92,452)

Proximity to Charlotte, N.C.: 120 miles

Asheville, North Carolina.


Tucked in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville excels when it comes to mountain town living. With a cool and laid-back persona, this North Carolina city is home to a highly regarded craft beer scene, plus there’s plenty of outdoor adventures (Hiking! Mountain biking! Whitewater rafting!). Residents here love dogs and have an appreciation for great food (nearby farms supply the bounty to restaurants). And as an added bonus, there’s very little traffic. Instead, jam out at one of the acclaimed live music venues. But when you’re craving a big city experience, Charlotte is 120 miles away and is bidding for attention. It’s home to the U.S. National Whitewater Center, a must-visit attraction for intrepid types to try out white-water courses on kayaks and rafts. Go on a self-guided barbecue tour, shop the 7th Street Public Market, and enjoy the nightlife. (We double-dare you to ride the mechanical bull at Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Whisky River.)

6. Hamilton, Ohio (population: 62,359) 

Proximity to Cincinnati: 17 miles; Proximity to Dayton: 32 miles

Over the past few years, Hamilton has pumped $65 million into its downtown, and the revitalization efforts are bringing about a thriving arts and culture scene and market-rate apartments. Residents here can enjoy a variety of public art sculptures, the 300-acre Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park & Museum, and jazz and comedy performances at the Fitton Center for Creative Arts. Seasonal festivals like IceFest, where ice sculptors chisel works of art out of blocks of ice, bring the community together even in the doldrums of winter. Located within the Cincinnati-Dayton metroplex, it’s easy to zip between the two big cities, whether it’s for a work commute or to enjoy a day exploring the bigger cities’ attractions like the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden.

See: 4 questions to ask before retiring to the suburbs

7. Franklin, Tenn.

Proximity to Nashville: 21 miles

One visit to Franklin makes it easy to see why this small city outside of Nashville is growing fast. Franklin has all the charm of a historic Southern town, including a seriously picturesque Main Street and downtown, friendly people and fantastic restaurants cooking up Tennessee favorites from scratch. But it’s also home to headquarters of major corporations like Nissan

and Mars Petcare, which means residents have access to career opportunities they’d usually only find in a much bigger city. Living here means being just a short drive from Nashville’s world-famous music venues, but don’t discount the creative scene in Franklin — you don’t have to leave city limits to see up-and-coming artists at open mic nights or international superstars at Pilgrimage, a two-day music festival that draws acts like Justin Timberlake and the Foo Fighters.

Read: Americans are eyeing homes in the suburbs as pent-up demand hits housing market

8. Hood River, Ore. (population: 7,806)

Proximity to Portland, Ore.: 60 miles

Postcard-perfect, Hood River sits on the front porch of the Columbia River Gorge and the Cascade Range. The 35-mile Hood River Fruit Loop packs a lot of charm per square mile, with snow-capped peaks, orchards, lavender fields, fruit stands and alpacas. Plus, it’s the windsurfing capital of the world if you’re looking to take up a new socially distanced-approved hobby. An hour’s drive along I-84 will get you to Portland, where there’s plenty of coffeehouses, breweries and museums to explore. And, until you’re comfortable flying again, there’s an acclaimed Japanese Garden to help satiate your wanderlust.

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Is 6 feet really the ‘magic number’ in public spaces? As states reopen their economies, exercise caution in these public places

Coronavirus appears to linger longer in certain public spaces.

As of Wednesday, 6 million people had been tested in the U.S. for SARS-CoV-2, with 1,038,451 confirmed cases, and 60,853 deaths, of which 18,076 were in New York City, the epicenter of the pandemic in the U.S. Worldwide, there were 3,189,017 confirmed cases and 227,368 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering.

While Cuomo said he may extend the lockdown to certain parts of the state beyond May 15, other states are reopening certain non-essential businesses. Businesses, including gyms, hair salons, tattoo parlors and movie theaters are reopening in Georgia, despite not demonstrating a downward trajectory of cases over 14 days as laid out by the White House’s benchmarks for states reopening.

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Health professionals warn people to exercise caution in restaurants (and with restaurant menus), elevators (and with elevator buttons), gyms (and with gym equipment) and grocery stores (and with trolleys/baskets), particularly as a dozen other cities have similar plans. Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Wyoming has also said they would start opening certain non-essential businesses.

High-traffic areas are best to be avoided, especially where there’s moisture, and researchers found more coronavirus aerosols in patients’ bathrooms and in changing rooms for doctors.

Some public spaces appear to be more hostile environments to the new coronavirus than others, according to a new study published in the journal Nature Research and carried out by a team of investigators, led by Ke Lan, professor and director of the State Key Laboratory of Virology at Wuhan University in the Chinese region where COVID-19, the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, was first reported.

High-traffic areas are best to be avoided, especially where there’s moisture. After setting up traps for small aerosols (airborne particles) in two hospitals in Wuhan, the researchers found more coronavirus aerosols in patients’ bathrooms and in changing rooms for doctors. “While the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 via human respiratory droplets and direct contact is clear, the potential for aerosol transmission is poorly understood,” the researchers wrote.

The study had some good news for hospitals: There were fewer aerosols in isolation wards and patient rooms with good ventilation and thorough sanitization, the study, published Monday, found. “Our results indicate that room ventilation, open space, sanitisation of protective apparel, and proper use and disinfection of toilet areas can effectively limit the concentration of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in aerosols,” they wrote.

Public transportation is also a hot spot, according to a working paper released on April 24 by Jeffrey Harris, professor at the Department of Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “Maps of subway station turnstile entries, superimposed upon zip code-level maps of reported coronavirus incidence, are strongly consistent with subway-facilitated disease propagation. Local train lines appear to have a higher propensity to transmit infection than express lines,” he found.

Is 6 feet really the ‘magic number’ in public spaces?

However, the study only covers roughly half of the stops on the Flushing line that run through Queens neighborhoods with some of the highest rates of COVID-19. The findings that a drop in subway ridership is associated with a subsequent reversal of the COVID-19 cases could be a proxy for other concurrent social-distancing activities, Harris wrote. Health professionals say occupying enclosed spaces and not maintaining six-feed distances contributes to transmission, and recommend people go to open spaces like parks instead, if they just go out.

A study published in the peer-reviewed The New England Journal of Medicine last month from scientists at Princeton University, UCLA and the National Institutes of Health concluded that the virus could remain airborne for “up to 3 hours post aerosolization.” The scientists found that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the new disease COVID-19, was detectable in the air for up to three hours, up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard, and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel.

Proving that airborne particles lead to transmission, however, is less clear, but “plausible,” the researchers wrote. Regardless, it’s recommended that you remain at least six feet apart from other people, especially indoors, experts say, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wearing masks or face coverings in public. “Studies have looked at how far spit and little droplets fly, and that’s the magic number,” said Luis Ostrosky, vice chairman of internal medicine at McGovern Medical School in Houston.

Another study suggested up to 13 feet. That’s according to an investigation carried out by researchers led by a team at the Academy of Military Medical Sciences in Beijing, was published in Emerging Infectious Diseases, an open-access, peer-reviewed journal published monthly by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many of the coronavirus droplets were found on the ground “perhaps because of gravity and air flow” and “half of the samples from the soles of the Intensive Care Unit medical staff shoes tested positive.”

‘Most face masks do not effectively filter small particles from the air and don’t prevent leakage around the edge of the mask when the user inhales,’ the CDC says.

MarketWatch photo illustration/iStockphoto

The life span of the virus varies per surface

“It’s not certain how long the virus that causes coronavirus survives on surfaces, but it seems to behave like other coronaviruses,” the World Health Organization said. “Studies suggest that coronaviruses — including preliminary information on the COVID-19 virus — may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days.” Higher temperatures are likely to degrade it. But experts caution that as spring arrives in the Northern Hemisphere — which usually marks the end of the traditional flu season — coronavirus may not necessarily go away.

Its life span will also vary, depending on the type of surface, temperature and/or humidity. Bathrooms are a welcoming environment for coronaviruses. “Previous coronaviruses can remain viable in cold, moist surfaces up to nine days,” Ostrosky said. So if you are sharing a home with someone who has coronavirus, he strongly advises against sharing the same bathroom.

As for plane travel, in-flight oxygen is likely of higher quality than the air in your home. “If you have an infected person in the front of the plane, and you’re in the back of the plane, your risk is close to zero simply because the area of exposure is thought to be roughly six feet from the infected person,” according to Charles Chiu, professor of laboratory medicine at University of California, San Francisco.

“Ventilation rates provide a total change of air 20 to 30 times per hour,” the WHO says. “Most modern aircraft have recirculation systems, which recycle up to 50% of cabin air. The recirculated air is usually passed through HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters, of the type used in hospital operating theatres and intensive care units, which trap dust particles, bacteria, fungi and viruses.”

How COVID-19 is transmitted

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