Smokers should have access to less harmful alternatives to cigarettes and be able to easily get information about such products, a new poll finds. In general, eight out of ten adults believe that smoking is an important public health issue that governments should concern themselves with, placing it among other concerns such as obesity, air pollution, alcohol consumption and mental health. And while 91 percent of the respondents believe that technology and innovation have a role to play in addressing such concerns in their country, only 40 percent think their government and public health authorities are doing a good job in embracing novel technologies as a way of improving public health.
Favorable attitude towards alternatives to cigarettes
More than eight out of ten respondents believe that consumer goods companies have an obligation to continually research and innovate their products in the interest of public health. Nearly all (94%) share the belief that consumers have the right to know if such better alternative products exist. This stance also applies to less harmful alternative to cigarettes. Eight out of ten respondents (83%) agreed it is important to provide interested smokers with such alternatives. An even greater number (88%) believes smokers should have access to these innovative products if they are shown as having the potential to present less risk than continued smoking. Furthermore, nine out of ten respondents believe that adult smokers should have the right to get information about such products and the scientific research behind them in order to be able to make informed decisions.
91% think technology and innovation play an important or somewhat important role in addressing public health issues
40% think their government is doing a good job embracing technology and innovation in public health issues
86% think consumer goods companies have an obligation to continually research their products in the interest of public health
94% think consumers have the right to know if there are better products existing
83% agreed it’s important to provide interested smokers with less harmful alternatives to cigarettes
88% think smoker should have access to less harmful alternatives to cigarettes
77% agree that their government should encourage adult smokers who don’t quit to completely switch to better alternative products
Governments should encourage switching
There is a general consensus among the participants that less harmful alternatives to cigarettes need to be backed by robust testing and monitoring, and that governments and health authorities should study their risk profile compared to cigarettes. Eight out of ten adults on average also agree that governments should encourage smokers to completely switch to alternative products. These results support PMI’s efforts to replace cigarettes with smoke-free products as fast as possible. Given the magnitude of this task, PMI’s CEO André Calantzopoulos has recently called for an open dialogue with governments, public health authorities, scientists, and the public in general about the role smoke-free products can play in the improvement of public health.
The survey, conducted by Philip Morris International (PMI) between September 4 and September 19, 2018, included approximately 31,000 general population adults in 31 countries worldwide. The participants were asked about their views on public health issues, the role of technology and innovation in public health, and alternative products to cigarettes.
The full results from the poll can be found here.