Philip Morris International discusses the need for corporations to adapt to changing societal demands at BOLDtalks event in Dubai


  • More than 900,000 adults in the UAE smoke cigarettes daily, according to the Tobacco Atlas
  • The company has made significant investments in its Smoke-Free Transformation Vision with the creation of a smoke-free alternative class of tobacco products
  • Philip Morris International Inc. (PMI) recently participated at BOLDtalks, a forum of discussion that encourages ‘disruptive’ discourse on topics that are shaping local society. The company’s Director of External Affairs Eastern Europe, Middle East, Africa & Global Duty Free, Bryson W. Thornton, addressed the need for corporations to adapt to societal change and demand with innovation. As a leading tobacco company, PMI is undergoing a transformation journey offering a heat-not-burn tobacco product with the hope that it will one day phase out combustible cigarettes. According to the Tobacco Atlas, each day almost one million people smoke cigarettes in the country.

    PMI is embracing innovation, research, and cutting-edge science and technology, and repositioning its corporate story to bring about social change. The company’s Smoke-Free Vision is one of the catalysts of the new industry trend to phase out combustion, and switch to potentially safer alternatives.

    “We are undergoing a transformation that we believe will reshape not only our company but the entire industry, while simultaneously having a positive impact on public health. BOLDtalks is a great forum to address our corporate direction and the adaption process we have embarked upon as a company. The forum is a place where the difficult conversations can happen and it’s a great way to receive feedback at the ‘street’ level. What we have done as a company and continue to do to our core competency is disruptive in the truest meaning of the word,” said Bryson W. Thornton, Director of External Affairs Eastern Europe, Middle East, Africa & Global Duty Free, Philip Morris International.

    He added: “We have spent roughly $4.5 billion in research and have thousands of patents registered to develop potentially less harmful products. We encourage independent research and comprehensive review of the findings. We want to encourage public debate and discourse about the ability to apply the principles of harm reduction to tobacco consumption and the viability of smoke-free products within society.”

    “There are more than 1 billion smokers in the world and many of them are looking for less risky alternatives to cigarettes. Undoubtedly, the best thing a smoker can do for their health is to quit smoking altogether. However, we are providing a potentially safer choice to those adult smokers who would otherwise continue to smoke. With the right support and framework, we can substantially accelerate the speed and magnitude of this change; in over 35 other international markets the switch has been significant and the rate of change is exponential. We firmly believe that the men and women who smoke, the people who care about them, and those subjected to second-hand smoke deserve the opportunity to make this choice if they believe it is right for them,” commented Lana Gamal El-Din, Corporate Affairs Director, Philip Morris Middle East.

    BOLDtalks are series of events that host a selection of acclaimed international speakers that presented PMI with the opportunity to further engage on a highly debated public issue. This year, the event took place on March 24, at The Junction at Al Serkal Avenue.

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