The right information, coupled by the need to update legislation on cigarette use based on science, is the key to accelerate the end of cigarettes, a top executive of a global cigarette manufacturer said.

Philip Morris International (PMI) Vice President for Global Communications Tommaso di Giovanni said the ambition of the company is to replace all cigarettes with better alternatives based on science, and to do this, they worked on products that do not burn and generate lower levels of harmful compounds.

He added that the company made more than 350 studies on the effectiveness of these new products, such that PMI has invested 99 percent of its research and development and 76 percent of commercial expenditures to transform the industry, which amounts to $8 billion.

Di Giovanni stressed that the main cause of the diseases linked to cigarettes are not caused by nicotine, rather it is caused by the harmful compounds made by burning tobacco.

He also quoted the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence of the United Kingdom, which said that nicotine, while addictive, is not the cause of smoking-related disease.

“Virtually all health authorities around the world say this. And it’s something that the vast majority of smokers don’t know. And if they don’t know it, they simply won’t understand the value of the new proposition,” di Giovanni said.

He stressed the need to address misinformation about nicotine, and to update legislation about smoking.

“The fact of the matter is the vast majority of laws around the category were built in the ‘80s and in the ‘90s when the technology and the science we have today simply did not exist,” he said

Despite having 18 million smokers embracing PMI’s new heated tobacco product IQOS, and 25 percent of its revenue have already come from these alternatives, di Giovanni stressed that quitting smoking remained the best option.

“If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you smoke, quit. And if you don’t quit, change. Because today, there are options that are much better choices for smokers,” he said.