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Philip Morris International to axe jobs in Switzerland

© Vitezslav Vylicil |

The tobacco company Philip Morris International (PMI) has unveiled plans to cut jobs at its sites in Lausanne and Neuchâtel.

A total of around 265 jobs are likely to go. Most of them will be transferred to the UK, Portugal and Poland.

The company has opened formal processes in both cantons and those affected will be informed between now and the end of March 2020, it said.

The company said its restructuring plans are part of its strategy to focus on cigarette alternatives, such as IQOS, a heated tobacco product.

The company describes IQOS as the best alternative to the cigarette and claims it is less dangerous than cigarettes. However, such claims are controversial.

Part of the problem is that most of the testing has been done on animals rather than humans and most research has been done by the tobacco industry, which has a well established history of public deception.

Two studies done in 2018 and 2019 did not show relevant reductions of potential harm in regard to inflammation and lung function when shifting from cigarettes to heated tobacco alternatives. This could be linked to the continual inhalation of nicotine and remaining toxicants, according to the authors. Another study on rats concluded that IQOS use does not necessarily avoid the adverse cardiovascular effects of smoking cigarettes.

The benefits of going tobacco and nicotine free are less controversial.

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