Philip Morris Cyprus’ ambitious goal of making Cyprus the first smoking-free country in Europe, was presented by the company’s General Manager Stavros Drakoularakos at the opening of its new offices, at the Labs Tower in the heart of Nicosia, after only 2.5 years of presence in the Cypriot market. Referencing the company’s philosophy, “For every tomorrow we decide today”, Drakoularakos reiterated the commitment of the Philip Morris Cyprus team to accelerate efforts to achieve a cigarette-free Cyprus.

“Cyprus can lead the transition to a cigarette-free world and become the first European country to achieve this,” he said. “We have already made significant progress, with more than 55,000 Cypriots having made the transition to better alternatives to cigarettes.”

The success of the transition is also reflected in the financial results, as Philip Morris Cyprus’ revenues from the new tobacco products now exceed 70 per cent of its total sales in Cyprus. “This is not just a number, but demonstrates acceptance by adult smokers and the success of the new products in the Cypriot market, strengthening the local economy and creating new employment and growth opportunities,” Drakoularakos stressed. “Cyprus has the potential to lead the public debate, highlighting the benefits of this transition to public health, the environment and the economy.”

President Nikos Christodoulides attended the event, praising the company’s local and overseas efforts towards a world free of cigarettes. Thereafter, the President toured the company’s new offices.

Also in attendance was George Margonis, CEO of Papastratos, a subsidiary of Philip Morris International in Greece. “With an investment of more than $12.5 billion, the operation of research centres in Switzerland and Singapore, and the persistent efforts of 1,586 scientists, engineers and technicians, Philip Morris International is leading a major transformation in the tobacco industry, with a vision of a cigarette-free future,” he said.

Both Drakoularakos and Marganis acknowledged in their addresses ongoing challenges, such as the illicit trade in cigarettes, access to cigarettes by minors, and the lack of proper information based on scientific evidence. Yet they stressed that Philip Morris supports strict legislation and control of sales to young people, and is taking the initiative to raise awareness on these matters.

Ultimately, thanks to science and technology, as well as the support of the state, society and the private sector, Philip Morris Cyprus’ vision of a cigarette-free Cyprus is becoming a reality.