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Tobacco companies are looking towards pharmaceuticalisation

In a move that many consumers and health experts did not see coming, the tobacco industry is looking at becoming part of the pharmaceutical market, in o...

Catherine Sturman
|Jul 20|magazine5 min read

In a move that many consumers and health experts did not see coming, the tobacco industry is looking at becoming part of the pharmaceutical market, in order to further their market growth, and resolve the issues created through tobacco based products, by creating further products to ensure permanent nicotine consumption.

With increased population growth worldwide, the cigarette market is still on a steady trajectory, despite frequent warnings. This legitimisation of tobacco is almost sure to create consternation with consumers, who have long been informed of the dangers nicotine presents to consumer health, and will also create huge problems within health regulations currently in place and the use of prescription pharmaceuticals.

With increased consumer education, it will be a steep hill for the tobacco industry to climb. Senior author Dr Pamela Ling, a professor of medicine at UCSF, said in a phone interview to Reuters that “Tobacco companies see their future as pharmaceutical companies. They’ve already begun to acquire pharmaceutical subsidiaries, and they’re producing tobacco products that look and feel like medicines.”

This news will be increasingly alarming, and calls into question whether these pharmaceuticalised tobacco products will undergo clinical testing, in comparison to standardised pharmaceutical products. Understanding consumer concerns, Phillip Morris International has commented, “We do not ask to be trusted but to be judged based on facts.”

However, Mark Travers, a researcher at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York stated: “Our ultimate goal will always be to end tobacco use AND nicotine addiction. Yes, pharmaceutical nicotine, as approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is an effective way to assist in stopping smoking, but complete abstinence of tobacco and nicotine use is the best outcome.”