Papastratos, a member of Philip Morris International Inc, on Wednesday officially inaugurated the first HEETS production facility in Aspropyrgos.
HEETS are the tobacco units used with IQOS, the company’s most advanced smoke-free product. This first full conversion of a cigarette factory is a landmarket step in the group’s vision of a smoke-free future where people who smoke switch from the most harmful form of nicotine consumption – cigarettes – to scientifically substantiated smoke-free alternatives.
The 300-million-euro investment included the construction of three new buildings and the replacement of cigarette production lines with high-tech facilities capable of producing 10,000 smoke-free tobacco units per minute. The conversion of the factory started in August 2017. The facility is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2018 and will create 400 new jobs.
André Calantzopoulos, PMI’s Chief Executive Officer said: “This is a historic day for our company. Papastratos is the first of our factories to end cigarette production and fully shift to manufacturing our smoke-free alternatives.” He added: “We will continue to convert existing sites and invest in new facilities to answer global adult smoker demand for better alternatives to cigarettes. We made a commitment to provide all people who would otherwise continue smoking with potentially less harmful products. The momentum around this revolutionary change for the benefit of the world’s 1.1 billion smokers, public health and society at large is growing, and we will continue working towards a smoke-free future. Along with our plant near Bologna, Italy, Papastratos is our company’s second facility fully dedicated to manufacturing smoke-free products. We have also announced plans to either fully or partially transform our cigarette factories in Korea, Romania and Russia. Since 2008, we have invested more than USD 4.5 billion in scientific research, product and commercial development, and production capacity related to IQOS and other smoke-free products. In 2017, over 70% of our global R&D expenditure and over 30% of our global commercial expenditure was allocated to smoke-free products. We estimate that at the end of January 2018, nearly 5 million adult consumers around the world have already stopped smoking and switched to IQOS. Our ambition is that all those who would otherwise continue smoking abandon cigarettes and switch completely to scientifically substantiated smoke-free products as soon as possible. Appropriate regulatory policies and decisions can substantially accelerate the speed and magnitude of this historic change”.
Christos Charpantidis, chairman and CEO in Papastratos, said that 87 years after the creation of the most modern cigarette production factory in Greece, Papastratos is innovating again, inaugurating a new modern factory signalling a new era for the company. “With this investment we make another step to support the Greek economy and society with new job positions, strengthening innovation, extroversion and the country’s profile abroad,” he said.