October 11, 2018
A new global survey* commissioned by Philip Morris International and conducted by Ipsos reveals that 77 percent of adults agree that governments should do all they can to encourage men and women who would otherwise keep smoking cigarettes to completely switch to better alternatives.
Smoking is still ranked as an important public health issue alongside obesity, alcoholism and opioid use in terms of importance. Importantly, the multinational survey shows strong support for the role that innovation and technology should play in resolving these global health problems.
Dr. Moira Gilchrist, Vice President of Scientific and Public Communications at Philip Morris International, said: “This survey shows that most people around the world agree that smoking is still a serious public health problem. They want to see action to tap into the opportunity provided by alternatives to cigarettes that are scientifically substantiated. We are in complete agreement with that view. Public opinion aligns with common sense, and the survey confirms what we have heard for more than a decade.”
The results also showed that 86 percent of respondents believe consumer goods companies have an obligation to continually research and innovate their products in the interest of public health. However, only 35 percent thought that governments have done a good job to ensure everyone has access to the latest innovations and advancements. Clearly, society does not want governments to block promising solutions to public health problems.
Publication of the study results follows a meeting of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) Conference of Parties (COP) in Geneva last week, where the 181 member countries and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) met to decide on global tobacco control policy recommendations. None of their discussions were open to the public or media. Although many individual states took progressive positions, the disappointing and unfortunate outcome of the COP will mean that millions of smokers will not know about better alternatives to cigarettes. This approach is in sharp contrast with public opinion: 92 percent of those surveyed agreed that smokers should have access to accurate information to guide their choices.
“The science is clear. The evidence shows that switching to a smoke-free product is a better choice than continuing to smoke. We simply cannot keep smokers in the dark about this information. The COP missed an opportunity to put people and science at the heart of its policymaking,” added Dr. Gilchrist.
Contrary to common sense, the tobacco industry has been discouraged from innovating and inadvertently encouraged to keep cigarettes at the core of their business models. Despite this, at PMI we will not waiver from our commitment to provide the world’s 1.1 billion smokers with better alternatives to cigarettes, as well as information about these options.
Countries now have the opportunity to implement local regulations that embrace science and technology. Progressive polices can effectively protect overall population health, while still working in the best interests of men and women who smoke.
“With any other global problem, from the environment to obesity, everyone works together to deliver better alternatives, inform people about them and incentivize them to change behavior. Why should this common sense approach not apply to tobacco?” concluded Dr. Gilchrist.
The clear call from society for more information about, and access to, better alternatives to cigarettes did not come without important caveats that we support. Of those surveyed, 92 percent agreed that these new products must have robust scientific testing prior to being introduced into the market, and 91 percent agreed that once these products have been introduced their impact needs to be monitored to ensure they are reducing the harm caused by cigarettes.
* Conducted by Ipsos Hong Kong Limited (September 2018); margin of error ±0.6% at the 95 percent confidence interval. All data can be viewed at www.pmi.com/media-center/news/public-supports-alternatives-to-cigarettes
Philip Morris International: Who We Are
We are a leading international tobacco company engaged in the manufacture and sale of cigarettes and other nicotine-containing products in markets outside the United States of America. We’re building our future on smoke-free products that are a much better consumer choice than continuing to smoke cigarettes. Through multidisciplinary capabilities in product development, state-of-the-art facilities and scientific substantiation, we aim to ensure that our smoke-free products meet adult consumer preferences and rigorous regulatory requirements. Our vision is that these products ultimately replace cigarettes to the benefit of adult smokers, society, our company and our shareholders. For more information, see our PMI and PMIScience websites.