Trying to get back-door access to a major Auckland poverty group as well as lobbying key figures in the Ministry of Health and approaching a senior manager at Counties Manukau DHB to have their devices included in its stop smoking programmes shows that Philip Morris International (PMI) is back to its old tricks.

Hāpai Te Hauora, Mihi Blair, the General Manager of the Tobacco Control Advocacy Service says that Philip Morris’s recent intensified lobbying of the Ministry of Health and Counties Manukau DHB, shows what happens when the vaping sector remains unregulated.

"While the government has approved vaping as a tool in the quitting space, without a regulatory framework it’s a free for all in the vaping market at the moment," she said.

"Philip Morris is again trying to exploit that by getting their products into stop smoking programmes - for free - and ensure that our most vulnerable remain addicted."

"Philip Morris remain the pariahs they always have been because they are not interested in stopping selling tobacco. They don’t want smokers to stop, but just change devices - to their devices."

"By targeting low-income earners through stop smoking programmes in DHBs through the use of their IQOS product - they are simply back to their old tricks," Ms. Blair said. "These devious strategies haven’t changed since they knew smoking killed back in the 50’s."

Blair points out that the focus should be on achieving Smokefree2025 for all New Zealander's and not making money off of this goal. 

Tobacco companies are making a mockery out of reaching this goal. The health sector have worked hard to get people to quit tobacco and this brazen targeting of low income, Māori and Pasifika, Philip Morris is simply trying to entrench themselves in our most vulnerable communities and ensure they can keep them addicted to tobacco."