WAR ON FAGS Cigarettes to be “phased out in UK” by tobacco giants Marlboro and B&H

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US tobacco giant Philip Morris has launched a new, less harmful cigarette in a bid to quit selling conventional fags altogether.

British smokers can now buy the company’s IQOS smokeless cigarette, which heats tobacco to produce vapour without burning it.

Puffers will get the same nicotine hit, but will inhale 90% less toxins harmful to health, the firm claims.

Initial trials found the new cigarette had similar effects to quitting smoking.

However, the multi-billion dollar Swiss-based firm will not publish the findings of the trial, which has not been independently scrutinised.

Philip Morris International, whose brands include Benson & Hedges and Marlboro, have spent $2bn (£1.6bn) on developing the smoking product.

Now PMI boss Andre Calantzopoulos wants to help governments across the world “phase-out” normal cigarettes.

In an interview with BBC Radio 4, he said: “I believe there will come a moment in time where I would say we have sufficient adoption of these alternative products … to start envisaging, together with governments, a phase-out period for cigarettes.

“I hope this time will come soon.”

The IQOS is a £45 battery pack used to charge a cigarette holder.

Tobacco sticks – costing £8 a pack – are placed in the holder and smoked.

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of UK health charity Action on Smoking and Health, said: “If smokers switch to electronic cigarettes or other products that can be shown to cut the risks to their health, this could lead to a big improvement in public health.

“But we need independent evidence to support any claims made by the tobacco industry.”

it comes as cigarette firms lost a historic court ruling meaning they will not be able to brand their products.