The transformative power of inclusion

01 Nov 2021 · 5 min read
By scrutinizing facts and including all voices, we can achieve the collective action critical to solving the pressing challenges facing our world.
Gregoire Verdeaux Senior Vice President External Affairs at Philip Morris International (PMI)

Written by

Gregoire Verdeaux, Senior Vice President, External Affairs, Philip Morris International


At the core of democracy is the duty of policymakers to consider the public’s voice. More than ever, people are demanding to be involved with issues that affect them—from climate change to rebuilding after the pandemic. Experts can no longer tell them “This is too complicated for you to understand.” People around the world are calling for greater action and greater inclusion. And, for the tobacco industry specifically, the need for an ongoing comprehensive and collective review of public opinion and the latest scientific data is critical in transforming the industry and for the benefit of public health.

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In fact, according to an international survey conducted by independent research firm Povaddo and commissioned by PMI, a majority of adults surveyed, around seven in 10 (72%) support tobacco companies working with governments, regulators, and public health experts to ensure that smokers have access to, and accurate information about, smoke-free alternatives. Support is even higher among current smokers, at 83%.*

Transformative collective action occurs when policymakers consider such a clear consensus. But behind this consensus is a simple truth: more inclusive approaches yield more impactful solutions. On any number of global issues, considering both experts—and the stakeholders who are most affected—clears a path for progress.

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We must not let old ways of working—from behind closed doors and without input from all concerned parties—obscure truths and block more immediate solutions for the world’s over 1 billion adult smokers. It is not credible for policymakers to simply rely on the static—and sometimes entrenched—views of a few. Decisions must draw from a broader pool of concerned individuals, and rely on the best available science. At Philip Morris International, we strive for transparency as we transform our business by focusing on smoke-free alternatives to replace cigarettes as soon as possible for adults who would otherwise continue smoking—inviting policymakers, the scientific community, and NGOs to review and verify our scientific findings. 

By scrutinizing facts and including all voices, we can achieve the well-informed collective action required to solve the many challenges our world is facing. Working together, and embracing facts, new technologies, and science is our shared responsibility and the least we can do to drive positive change.



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*PMI international survey, sample of 29,484 adults