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Q+A: Peata Melbourne interviewed by Jack Tame

Peata Melbourne, communications manager for Philip Morris International, appeared on Q+A tonight and denied the company is targeting young people with new vaping products.

Some New Zealand schools have expressed concern at the number of students who have been caught vaping.

“That is not good news at all, and, I mean, again, we don’t promote to youth. We don’t want youth to come anywhere near these products. We don’t want non-smokers to come anywhere near these products. It is not for them. It is for people who just can’t give up cigarettes.”

Ms Melbourne said Philip Morris did not market its products to young people but later admitted the company had a “partnership” with a designer at New Zealand Fashion Week:

JACK The point is that there are maybe 1000 people there, the majority of them young, some of them with significant social influences, and you are marketing directly to them.

PEATA No, but we weren’t marketing directly to them. There are actually really strict rules about what– For instance, the models couldn’t be over 25 years– couldn’t be, sorry, under 25 years, and things like that.

JACK Well, I know for a fact that significant numbers of the models in that show were under 25 years of age.

PEATA So– Jack, I can’t go– I don’t know the details–

Ms Melbourne said the company couldn’t say that their vaping products were harm-free:

JACK Would you accept, at the very least, that these heated tobacco products cause some harm?

PEATA I would accept that they are not risk-free. They are not risk free by any means.

JACK What harm do they cause?

PEATA Well, again, that’s not known, so… What they do is eliminate around 90% to 95% of the risk that you have in cigarettes, right? So they are not risk-free, and we have never said that they are risk-free. They are also… They also still contain nicotine, so they are not nicotine-free either

Please find the full interview here.

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