When tobacco company Philip Morris International made a $1.2 billion offer on July 9 to buy England-based Vectura Group, a pharmaceutical company that develops inhaled therapies for the treatment of respiratory diseases, it was widely expected that questions and concerns would immediately follow.

The London Times noted that Britain’s Secretary of State for Business and anti-smoking groups questioned why the company would want to “develop therapies to treat some of the very lung diseases Philip Morris’ products cause.”

Sir Edward Davey, leader of the Liberal Democrats, said it was “totally wrong” that Philip Morris would seek to profit from conditions such as asthma and serious lung disease.

Appearing Wednesday on CNBC’s “Closing Bell,” Philip Morris CEO Jacek Olczak defended the company’s decision.

“We can stand still and continue selling cigarettes or we can do something with the science and the technology at least to significantly reduce the harm created by smoking,” Olczak said. “I believe what we’re doing is absolutely right... Nothing and nobody will stop us in our transformations to leave smoking behind.

Olczak's comments come after Philip Morris issued a press release about the acquisition that stated they were committed to the science to help Vectura with a long-term vision.

“The market for inhaled therapeutics is large and growing rapidly, with significant potential for expansion into new application areas,” the company said. “PMI has the commitment to science and the financial resources to empower Vectura’s skilled team to execute on an ambitious long-term vision. Together, PMI and Vectura can lead this global category, bringing benefits to patients, to consumers, to public health and to society-at-large.”

Over the years, Philip Morris has sought to reinvent its image. The company announced plans to generate 50% of its revenue from smoke-free products by 2025, with a goal of earning $1 billion from its “Beyond Nicotine” campaign.

“We understand that a complete and successful transformation is one that allows our company’s business to move from a value proposition, centered on doing less harm, toward one where we can have a net positive impact on society,” the company’s website said of the “Beyond Nicotine” campaign.