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In January 2018, Philip Morris International (PMI) placed ads in UK newspapers explaining that their New Year’s resolution was ‘to stop selling cigarettes in the UK’ (see figure 1).1 To help achieve this goal, the PMI ads refer to four commitments for 2018:
Launch a website and campaign to provide smokers with information on quitting and on alternatives to cigarettes
Offer to support Local Authority cessation services where smoking rates are highest
Seek Government approval to insert, directly into our cigarette packs, information on quitting and on switching
Expand the availability of new, alternative products in the UK.
While the second commitment is contrary to Article 5.3 obligations of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC),2 and the third prohibited by the Standardised Packaging of Tobacco Products Regulations 2015,3 the latter, at least, could be amended by the UK government. The relevant text, ‘No insert or additional material may be attached to or included with the packaging of a unit packet or container packet of cigarettes’, could be revised with the addition of ‘unless specified by Government (eg, to educate …
Contributors CM drafted the article, with feedback from DH and LB.
Funding This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent Not required.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.