Philip Morris International CEO said cigarettes should be banned and that the company will stop selling Marlboros in the UK within a decade

Three red packs of Marlboro cigarettes.
A pack of Philip Morris International Inc. Marlboro Red cigarettes seen in a Tobacco Store.

  • Philip Morris International CEO Jacek Olczak said the company will stop selling Marlboro cigarettes in the UK within a decade.
  • He also said cigarettes should be banned in the UK, similar to gas-powered cars.
  • Philip Morris International is separate from Philip Morris USA, which makes Marlboro cigarettes in the US.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The chief executive of Philip Morris International, the maker of Marlboro cigarettes abroad, said that his company will stop selling cigarettes in the UK within a decade.

CEO Jacek Olczak told The Mail on Sunday that the move is part of the company’s goal to become smoke-free and to help end the use of traditional cigarettes.

Olczak also called on the UK government to outlaw cigarettes within a decade, comparing them to gas-powered cars, which will be banned from being sold in the country starting in 2030, according to The Telegraph.

Read more: Amazon, investment banks, and even big tobacco are spending millions of dollars to try to get favorable marijuana laws

“We can see the world without cigarettes. And actually, the sooner it happens, the better it is for everyone,” he said. “With the right regulation and information it can happen 10 years from now in some countries. And you can solve the problem once and forever.”

Philip Morris International is separate from Philip Morris USA, which makes Marlboro cigarettes in the US and is a division of the American tobacco corporation Altria. It split from Philip Morris USA in 2008 and recently announced plans to transform into a smoke-free company, as well as its intention to buy British pharmaceutical company Vectura Group, which makes asthma inhalers.

Anti-smoking groups in the UK criticized the move, accusing tobacco companies of trying to position themselves as anti-smoking while still selling cigarettes products, according to The Guardian.

Smoking kills more than eight million people worldwide each year, according to the World Health Organization.

Have a news tip? Contact this reporter at kvlamis@insider.com.

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Bacon keeps getting more expensive – it now costs 13% more than last year, government data shows

Bacon
The price of bacon rose 13% year-on-year in May.

  • Bacon is way more expensive than it was a year ago.
  • The price of bacon has jumped 13% year-on-year, BLS data shows, and it rose 1.8% between April and May.
  • The consumer price index was up 5%, but signals suggest an inflation slowdown could be coming.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Bacon is now 13% more expensive than a year ago, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

And it’s not just shoppers facing higher prices: The owner of Burger King and Popeyes says prices for its key ingredients, including bacon, are rising, according to an internal report viewed by Bloomberg News.

The cost of bacon rose 1.8% between April and May, according to BLS data – this was a slower increase than March to April, when bacon prices jumped 3.4%.

Supply shortages and rising costs of pig feed were making pork products more expensive, Jayson L. Lusk, head of the Department of Agricultural Economics at Perdue, told the “Today” program in April.

The cost of other household staples has risen sharply, too. Over the past year, whole milk prices have risen 7.2%, beer 2.4%, and cigarettes 7.6%, the BLS data showed.

Whiskey has also climbed 3.7% in the past year, BLS data showed. It rose 0.7% from April to May, having fallen 0.2% in the previous month.

The overall consumer price index (CPI) rose 0.6% from April to May, and has surged 5% in the past year.

The monthly CPI jump was due mostly to a 7.3% rise in the cost of used cars and trucks, which accounted for about one-third of the seasonally-adjusted all items increase. Gasoline prices surged 56.2%, and car and truck rentals grew by 110% year-on-year.

As Insider’s Juliana Kaplan and Andy Kiersz reported, multiple under-the-radar signals suggest an inflation slowdown could be coming.

The 5% year-on-year inflation was the strongest since August 2008, and beat economists’ expectations. But annual price rises are measured against an unusually low base in May 2020, when most of the country was in lockdown.

The BLS figures showed that food away from home rose by 4% year-on-year. Restaurants are putting up the prices of menu items due to rising food costs and a labor shortage.

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Biden’s menthol cigarette prohibition is so obviously stupid and wrong it boggles the mind

Joe Biden sunglasses getty
President Joe Biden speaks on the North Lawn of the White House on April 27, 2021 in Washington, DC.

  • Biden claimed to regret how his drug warrior legacy led to mass incarceration.
  • But the prohibition will lead to harsher policing in Black communities.
  • It’s like the president hasn’t learned a thing from the failed and evil War on Drugs.
  • This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Joe Biden clearly hasn’t learned a thing from the failed and immoral War on Drugs – a disaster that he played a huge part in creating.

The president on Thursday ordered the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban menthol cigarettes, a plan first reported on Wednesday by the Washington Post. Since it’s a regulatory change, Congress has no say in the matter.

Anti-smoking advocates have lobbied for the ban for years, arguing correctly that the tobacco industry has targeted menthol sales at young people and Black communities.

Let’s be clear: Big Tobacco is a callous, lying cabal that exists to profit off addicting people to a deadly product. But cigarettes aren’t going to be made illegal overnight, just a certain flavor of cigarettes.

The ban will make menthol a prized commodity, a sought-after product whose artificial scarcity will inevitably drive up its price on non-legal markets.

A flavor will now be a crime, making criminals out of people who want some mint flavoring with their toxic tar.

This idea isn’t just dumb and wholly unnecessary – it’s plainly destructive to the communities it’s supposed to be helping.

Biden’s sorry (but not sorry) about being a prohibitionist

Throughout the 2020 Democratic primary, Biden was badgered by his rivals into apologizing for authoring several of the Drug War’s most punitive and socially destructive laws.

Those laws contributed to mass incarceration, the militarization of police, black markets controlled by violent criminals, as well as millions of broken homes and shattered lives.

Biden thought his heart was in the right place: Drugs are bad, m’kay.

But the Biden-backed Drug War was just a hyper-violent and hyper-expensive reboot of alcohol Prohibition – a colossal failure, so corrupting of society at almost every level, that Congress amended the Constitution to get rid of it.

As a candidate, Biden sheepishly claimed to have evolved from the days when he was boasting of legislation that he said did “everything but hang people for jaywalking.” As the Democratic nominee, Biden promised to work on decriminalizing marijuana and removing it from the DEA’s list of Schedule I controlled substances.

Biden’s now been in the White House for more than three months, and Vice President Kamala Harris says the administration is simply too busy to fulfill its promise..

But apparently Biden isn’t too busy to use his power to ban menthol cigarettes.

This demonstrates either Biden’s promise was hollow, or that he’s too stuck in his drug warrior ways to see how it’s a certainty that criminalizing a popular product in the Black community is going to be an abject disaster of human carnage.

Eric Garner protest
People participate in a protest to mark the five year anniversary of the death of Eric Garner during a confrontation with a police officer in the borough of Staten Island on July 17, 2019 in New York City.

The madness of prohibition

Albert Einstein almost certainly didn’t say, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” But it’s still a good line.

Biden enacting a prohibition that instantly creates a black market and room for more unnecessary and potentially dangerous encounters with police, should be seen as the plainly dumb move that it is.

The “unintended consequences” cannot be called “unforeseen.” We can see them plain as day.

We’ve done prohibition before, several times. To expect a different result – the eradication of the banned product without unneeded violence and imprisonment – meets Einstein’s apocryphal definition of insanity.

And there’s almost no doubt the weight of this ban will fall predominantly on the Black community. One need only look at the police killing of Eric Garner, who in 2014 was the target of an NYPD crackdown on loose cigarette sales. That crackdown was deemed necessary because illicit loosie sales don’t collect New York’s high tobacco taxes – which were enacted, in part, to curb smoking.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is under no illusions about what the menthol ban means.

In a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra and members of Congress, the ACLU noted that about 80% of Black smokers prefer menthol cigarettes, and warned the ban “will trigger criminal penalties, which will disproportionately impact people of color,” lead to “constitutional policing,” and “prioritize criminalization over public health and harm reduction.”

While acknowledging that it would be best if no one smoked, the ACLU also seemed to question the necessity of the menthol ban, citing government data showing “cigarette use is down to 2.3% from 13% in 2002” and that among underage African-Americans it’s down to 1.1%.

There is simply no ethical or scientific reason for Biden to impose a move as severe as a total ban on menthol cigarettes.

Prohibition isn’t just ineffective, it’s wrong. And its architects and adherents almost always regret it eventually.

Biden once prided himself on being more of a Drug War and Law and Order hardass than Ronald Reagan. If his mea culpas from the 2020 primary were sincere, he’d be keeping his promises to wind down the war on marijuana, not starting the war on menthols.

When menthol cigarette crackdowns inevitably come to Black communities, Biden shouldn’t be allowed to claim he couldn’t have possibly foreseen the unintended consequences.

The president should know better about prohibition, but he doesn’t.

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The Biden administration is reportedly weighing restrictions on nicotine in cigarettes and a possible menthol ban

smoking cigarette
Most youths who smoke use menthols, according to the CDC.

  • The Biden administration is mulling major changes to tobacco policy, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.
  • Officials are considering a ban on menthol cigarettes, the paper said.
  • New rules may also require tobacco firms to lower the amount of nicotine in their products, according to the report.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The White House is mulling sweeping changes to government tobacco rules, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday, citing unnamed people familiar with the matter.

The Biden administration may compel tobacco and cigarette companies to slash the amount of nicotine in cigarettes sold in the US to levels that are less addictive, the paper said, adding that a ban on menthol cigarettes is also being considered.

Shares of major tobacco companies fell sharply following the Journal’s report, with Altria Group dropping more than 6% before markets closed. British American Tobacco dropped about 3.3%, and Phillip Morris dropped about 1.6%.

The goal of a ban on menthol cigarettes would be to curb smoking among young people, the Journal reported. A majority of people aged 12-17 who smoke use menthol cigarettes, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The US Food and Drug Administration has said it will decide whether to take action on menthol cigarettes by April 29, following a civil petition that was filed several years ago.

By drastically reducing the overall levels of nicotine in cigarettes, the administration aims to make them less addictive and promote less dangerous alternatives like lozenges or e-cigarettes, according to the Journal.

The White House did not immediately return Insider’s request for comment. An FDA spokesperson declined to comment.

Nicotine is the addictive component in tobacco products, but it’s not what makes them deadly, according to the FDA. It’s the mix of chemicals found in cigarettes that causes serious lung diseases like cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, the agency says.

According to the FDA, tobacco use causes more than 480,000 deaths in the US each year. It increases the risk of stroke, is a major cause of cardiovascular disease, and accounts for one in three cancer deaths in the US.

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