Issues Next Generation Addiction

Unsmoke is a Joke

A 12-month look at Philip Morris International’s Unsmoke campaign

A Year of Unsmoke

The Year of Unsmoke is a Philip Morris International (PMI) campaign that launched in April 2019. The campaign touts PMI’s commitment to creating a “smoke-free future.”

A look at PMI’s pro-cigarette actions during the Year of Unsmoke proves this commitment to be disingenuous at best.

In June 2019, it launched a new brand of high-tar, high-nicotine cigarettes in Indonesia. Then in December, it expanded cigarette production in Uzbekistan. Later, in February 2020, it reported having shipped more than 700 billion cigarettes worldwide in 2019 alone.

But before all this, in April 2019, Philip Morris International launched a global PR campaign claiming that it wanted to “remove smoke from our world.”

Since the campaign’s launch, STOP has documented PMI’s activity each month. What we found shows that PMI is still fundamentally a company that sells cigarettes and profits from the tobacco epidemic. Get more details.

A critical look at the past year makes Philip Morris International’s Year of Unsmoke campaign completely laughable. The problem is that, while it markets itself as part of the solution, the tobacco industry remains the biggest barrier to reducing tobacco-related deaths.

When comparing PMI’s words to its actions, it’s easy to see that #UnsmokeIsAJoke.

Our combustible tobacco portfolio remains
the foundation of our business.

PMI CEO André Calantzopoulo, May 2019

Unsmoke Is a Joke because:

  • PMI’s Year of Unsmoke campaign touted the goal of creating a “smoke-free future.”
  • In reality, PMI continued to sustain its profitable cigarette business and take action against measures that could have reduced smoking.
  • During its so-called “Year of Unsmoke,” PMI expanded cigarette production, targeted youth in its advertising, was caught underpaying taxes and more.
  • The Year of Unsmoke campaign is nothing more than an attempt to regain public favor and be seen as part of the solution to the tobacco epidemic it is currently sustaining.