Papastratos: Steady commercial steps for the better

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On the way to Papastratos towards a future without cigarettes, the decision – station to permanently stop its production in Greece and its transformation into a technology company that develops new, innovative, alternative platforms with a vehicle of science, is mentioned in an interview with Capital.gr, the General Manager of Commercial Operations of Papastratos, Themis Hasiotis. Today, the users of IQOS – licensed by the Food and Drug Administration of the United States as a differentiated tobacco product – exceed 360,000 in Greece, while the company has already launched Lil SOLID 2.0., An additional innovative tobacco product, offering more options to adults. that do not stop smoking.

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Characteristic is his reference to a survey conducted by the Philip Morris International group in 26 countries, including Greece. Based on this, 6 out of 10 smokers in Greece would be more likely to turn to a less harmful alternative, if they had full and clear information both about the differences between these innovative products in relation to traditional cigarettes, and in terms of scientific data. on which their production is based.

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Interview with George Lampiris

– How oxymoronic can it be for a tobacco company to talk about the end of cigarettes? What does this mean for you in the Commercial Operations Department of Papastratos?

The course of a business over time is not determined by the product it produces but by the purpose it has, by why it exists. And in Papastratos this goal is to evolve steadily for the better. For the better for us, for our people, for our country, for society. When, therefore, this goal is linked to the need for a cigarette-free future, we will take the first step, even if it requires making brave decisions, even if we have to change business direction, leaving behind what has successfully brought us so far.

5 years ago we proved in practice what I am saying, proceeding to the decision – station to stop producing permanent cigarettes in Greece, and turning the operation of our factory in Aspropyrgos to the exclusive production of a new generation of potentially reduced risk tobacco products, heated HEET rods for IQOS. A decision related to an investment of 425 million euros in Greece.

In this context, in 2016 we launched IQOS, which already has 360,000 users in Greece and is licensed by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration in America) as a differentiated tobacco product, suitable for promoting public health. And we continue, respectively, in the same direction with a new innovative smoking product, LilSOLID 2.0., Offering more options to adults who do not quit smoking.

– Have you announced a goal for 1,500,000 fewer smokers in Greece by 2025. How does the shift to alternative products fit into this goal?

We approach this goal with a very simple logic. Cigarettes are bad for your health. For this reason, those who do not smoke should not start it, those who smoke should quit and those who do not quit should change it. What does this mean in simple words? That alternative tobacco products are aimed only at adult smokers who, although aware of the harmful effects of smoking, do not choose to get rid of it.

So for those adult smokers who do not quit we need to develop better alternatives with products that will reduce the harm.

Scientific research to reduce harm is not new. The same goes for driving and seat belts or helmets, sunbathing and sunscreen, climate change and reducing disposable plastics. As for cigarettes, Philip Morris International (PMI) has invested more than $ 9 billion in research and development of these smoking cessation alternatives.

How informed are adult smokers today of the options available to them?

The results of research have shown that adult smokers need more information. Particularly revealing is the international survey of the independent company Povaddo, which took place in 2021 on behalf of PMI with the participation of 29,484 adults from 26 countries, including Greece. According to the results, more than 6 out of 10 smokers in Greece would be more likely to turn to a less harmful alternative if they had full and clear information about both the differences between these innovative products and traditional cigarettes. with regard to the scientific data on which their production is based. Also, in Greece only 51% correctly recognize the high level of toxic substances and tar produced by the combustion of tobacco and recognize them as the main causes of diseases associated with smoking. In any case, based on the same survey, almost 9 out of 10 smokers surveyed in Greece, who have quit smoking and turned to alternative products, attribute their decision to accurate information.

– How does the Commercial Operations Department of Papastratos, which you lead, contribute to informing them?

In Papastratos we are really proud because in recent years we have created one of the best and most modern commercial ecosystems that has as its main concern the documented information and the excellent service of the consumers. Every day we make thousands of contacts across the country through our network of physical stores, our online store, customer service call centers, traditional points of sale (kiosks and convenience stores) while constantly adding new services and channels of contact with the final consumer, such as technology chains and vapor chains. The end consumer recognizes our effort because he is adequately informed and understands the differences of these products in relation to traditional cigarettes. This fact makes me very happy and I think it highlights the key role of the Commercial Operations Department in the documented and responsible information of smokers.

– In a market that has been experiencing several “upheavals” in the last two years, how did you manage to offer a high level of service to your customers and at the same time achieve your quantitative goals?

The crises and changes we face are, at the same time, opportunities for development and progress both at corporate and individual level. I firmly believe that in the successful course of Papastratos so far, the way she managed the various challenges she faced, making brave decisions and proving her readiness for change and development for the better, played a very important role. The recent pandemic was a strong crashtest for us but I think we managed to develop very strong “antibodies” in serving our consumers. Characteristic to mention the creation of the digital loyalty platform, the improvement of the operation of our call centers, the development of new strategic partnerships throughout the country that expanded our product distribution network, such as through the Nobacco and Shell stores. In this way, we managed to accelerate the dynamics of alternative, innovative tobacco products and at the same time to offer more experiences to our customers.

– What is the role that Papastratos is called to play in the coming years in this growing industry of technology and innovation and what are your plans for 2022?

In such an unpredictable and changing environment it is difficult to talk about long-term plans and plans. I will, however, dwell on the fact that for the last 5 years the great family of Papastratos, with the spearhead of science and technology, has been consistently implementing its vision for a world free of cigarettes. We will continue to do this this year as well, expanding our product portfolio with new innovative platforms, further evolving the capabilities of our people and offering even better experiences to consumers.

Source: Capital

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