The WHO is missing major opportunity to help smokers by putting science and innovation at the core of public policy
Surprisingly, this report, funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, fails to acknowledge the robust science and innovation behind alternatives to smoking cigarettes. The WHO misses a critical scientific point: It is the burning of tobacco that produces the vast majority of the harmful chemicals that cause smoking-related diseases, not tobacco itself. Hundreds of millions of men and women who don’t quit stand to gain the most from less harmful alternatives to cigarettes. In fact, a global survey of 31,000 people in 31 countries found that 88 percent of respondents think smokers should have access to less harmful alternatives to cigarettes. https://www.pmi.com/media-center/news/public-supports-alternatives-to-cigarettes. PMI’s alternatives alone have already helped 8 million people abandon cigarettes entirely.
“The WHO is failing the 1 billion men and women around the world that continue to smoke by continuing to ignore the science behind better alternatives to cigarettes,” said Dr.
In 1997, the
PMI heeded the call for reduced toxicity products and for more than 20 years has been working on developing and scientifically assessing less harmful alternatives to cigarettes that do not create smoke, because they do not combust. PMI’s scientific assessment program is inspired by the well-recognized practices of the pharmaceutical industry and in line with the draft guidance of the U.S.
We encourage rigorous assessment of our scientific research, which is made transparently available for just that purpose. To date, there have been 73 independent studies and scientific reviews from universities and government research institutes in countries like
One has to ask, why does the WHO not apply these same principles to tobacco control?
“We remain committed to having an open and transparent dialogue based on science,” said Dr. Gilchrist. “We cannot change the past, but we can change the future for the 1 billion people around the world who continue to smoke.”
Our smoke-free strategy complements efforts by the WHO to tackle smoking. Our aspiration is that, by 2025, at least 40 million people who would otherwise have smoked cigarettes will have switched to our smoke-free products (approximately 8 million people to date globally), reducing the number of smokers of PMI cigarette brands by a total 55 million by 2025. Our aspiration is to reduce smoking almost four times faster than the target set by WHO.
“We are shifting our business toward science-based better alternatives. We look forward to working with decision-makers in governments around the world and organizations such as the WHO to accelerate this transformation,” said Dr. Gilchrist. “Despite the WHO report, we remain steadfast in our commitment to unsmoke the world.”
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