STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) — Tobacco company Philip Morris will relocate its corporate headquarters from New York City to southwest Connecticut, bringing 200 jobs, officials said Tuesday.
The company said in a news release that the move was facilitated by the office of Gov. Ned Lamont, a Democrat, and the new headquarters is expected to open by next summer.
“Connecticut offers a valuable mix of technological know-how, future-forward thinking, and an open-minded approach to problem-solving,” said Jacek Olczak, CEO of Philip Morris International. “We consider it an ideal location for our new U.S. head office, where we will be working to more quickly achieve our vision of a smoke-free future.”
The company also has offices in Switzerland and employs more than 71,000 people around the world.
Philip Morris, the maker of Marlboro cigarettes, has been shifting to non-combustible products that it says are not free of health risks but offer an alternative to continued smoking. It aims to be a majority smoke-free company in terms of net revenues by the end of 2025.
“I think they’re heading in the right direction, where it would be a better state, better country for their efforts,” Lamont said on Tuesday, referring to the company’s heat-not-burn cigarette option, iQOS. He said he was proud the company is going to “take the lead” in “getting people who are addicted to cigarette smoking off of cigarettes.”
Amber Herting, a spokesperson for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network in Connecticut, said now that the tobacco industry is “taking up residence in Connecticut,” state lawmakers need to fully fund tobacco prevention and control programs and end the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes.
“While they may put up a smokescreen about the dangers of what they sell, there is no denying that tobacco companies like Phillip Morris create products that addict and kill thousands in Connecticut and hundreds of thousands across the country each year,” Herting said in a statement.
Lamont, a former businessman, said he met informally with Phillip Morris executives and some Connecticut business owners at his home about 18 months ago, before the coronavirus pandemic. They discussed the possibility of the company known as PMI moving its corporate headquarters to the state.
“I was proud that PMI looked all over the country and all over the world and decided Connecticut is a place they want to make their corporate home,” Lamont said. “We can all be here as advocates and say Connecticut’s a good place to do business. But having folks who do business, talking to other business people, I think made a big difference.”