MARLBORO cigarettes will reportedly be pulled from British shop shelves within 10 years.
Tobacco giant Philip Morris International has sold the Marlboro brand fags in the UK for more than a century but now wants customers to switch to vapes, which are considered less harmful.
Chief executive Jacek Olczak told The Mail on Sunday the plans were part of Philip Morris International’s drive to phase out traditional cigarette smoking.
He said: “I want to allow this company to leave smoking behind.
“I think in the UK, ten years from now, maximum, you can completely solve the problem of smoking.”
Asked if that meant Philip Morris would stop selling traditional fags in the UK by then, he replied “absolutely”, adding that the Marlboro brand will vanish.
He said: “It will disappear. The first choice for consumers is that they should quit smoking.
“But if they don’t, the second-best choice is to let them switch to the better alternatives.”
The company has invested heavily in nicotine alternatives, including its flagship IQOS product.
The device heats tobacco rather than burning it.
It has more than 20m users worldwide.
In 1873 British tobacconist Phillip Morris opened a factory on Great Marlborough Street, London.
The company used the street name for its brand of cigarette, Marlboro.
The Government has laid out plans for Britain to be “smoke-free”.
It is committed to cutting smoking prevalence to five per cent by 2030, about a third of current levels.
The Government’s Chief Medical Office, Prof Chris Whitty, has said smoking will kill more people than Covid this year,
In a lecture at London’s Gresham College yesterday he said: “Smoking is gradually drifting down over time, but it is still a very major cause of mortality.
“The standard estimate is that it causes over 90,000 deaths every year.
“So this year and last year, it is likely more people will have died of smoking-related disease than Covid.”