What is 'Unsmoke Your World'?
Unsmoke is an initiative from Philip Morris International (PMI) to speed up a dramatic positive change in public health. It aims to reinforce the message to smokers that the best choice they can make is to quit cigarettes and nicotine altogether. But it recognizes that many won’t and believes these people should have the opportunity to switch to better alternatives than cigarettes, especially since these do actually exist. Smoke-free alternatives are not available everywhere and even when they are, awareness may be low or the information people have about them may be incorrect. We want the world to know: there can be a smoke-free future for families, their communities, and our collective futures.
What does unsmoke mean?
To unsmoke is to rid smoke from your life. It unites smokers and nonsmokers alike who want to ‘unsmoke’ themselves, family and friends. The best way is to quit cigarettes and nicotine altogether, but the next best way is to change to better alternatives.
Why launch this campaign now?
Why not? Why didn’t we do it sooner? There is an urgent need for smokers who would otherwise continue to smoke to have better alternatives to cigarettes and have information about them. The science and technology is here. We don’t want to wait for tomorrow. And we won’t.
What’s the goal?
Our goal is to grow the community of unsmoke advocates. We repeat: the best choice for a smoker is to quit tobacco and nicotine altogether. But in any given year, a large number of smokers will continue to smoke. We think they deserve better alternatives, and believe they and the nonsmokers in their social circles and families should know these smoke-free alternatives exist. We therefore want people to learn about them to help us call on policy makers to make positive changes around the world.
Why should people care about this?
Despite global efforts to encourage smoking cessation and prevent initiation, there are still 1.1 billion smokers on the planet. The World Health Organization predicts that there will still be more than 1 billion people who smoke in 2025. But take a look around, how many smoke in your circle of friends, your family, your neighborhood? How many have quit? Before reading this article, did you know smoke-free products existed? Do your smoker friends know they exist or whether they are available in your country? Decisions are only as good as the information they are based on.
Who can join?
Everyone is welcome in this conversation – smokers, never-smokers and unsmokers alike, policy makers, regulators, business leaders as well as people in health care. We need to come together in the drive for better consumer choices.
What regulation would you like to see?
Regulations should continue to dissuade people from starting to smoke and encourage smokers to quit cigarettes and nicotine altogether. But they should not put all tobacco and nicotine products in the same bracket. Smoke-free products like e-cigarettes or heated tobacco products are very different from cigarettes, which are the most harmful way to use tobacco. There is also a big difference between the smoke inhaled from a burning cigarette and vapor that’s produced from an e-cigarette or heated tobacco product. If science endorses the difference between these products, shouldn’t they be treated differently? And shouldn’t smokers know about it?
What are ‘better alternatives’?
Everyone knows that cigarettes are harmful and addictive. When cigarette tobacco burns, high levels of harmful chemicals are generated. By contrast, there is no ‘burning’ with smoke-free and heated tobacco products. Consequently, the levels of the harmful chemicals in their vapor could be significantly lower compared to cigarette smoke. They have the potential to be less-harmful options for smokers who would otherwise continue to smoke. Of course, these important attributes should be scientifically established for every individual product.
When will PMI actually stop selling cigarettes?
We are moving towards a smoke-free future – one without cigarettes. If anyone knows anything about these issues, they know that things take time if they are to be done the right way. We hope that with cooperation between industry, governments, and society in general, we can accelerate the arrival of an unsmoked world. But something needs to start today. PMI is not waiting for tomorrow to move forward. And people should not wait, either. The 'Unsmoke Your World' campaign invites people to take action today.
What is the 'Year of Unsmoke' all about?
The ‘Year of Unsmoke’ is PMI’s urgent call to action to smokers, nonsmokers, regulators and agents of change across the world to drive a better future for the world’s 1.1 billion smokers and their families, loved ones and communities. The best choice a smoker can make is to quit cigarettes and nicotine completely. But we are calling on the regulators and agents of change to accept the role better alternatives can play for smokers who would otherwise continue smoking.
What are you asking people to actually do?
We want smokers, nonsmokers and unsmokers to join us in making this conversation a global success and to help us grow a community of people who will help bring about a truly smoke-free future.
And what are you doing?
We are helping to turbocharge a conversation that’s already taking place. This is a campaign powered by the people of PMI. How do we unsmoke our lives? Since launching, hundreds of employees have shared their stories and those of their loved ones on unsmoking. Is it possible that a tobacco company is actually saying quit cigarettes and nicotine altogether is the best choice or if you don’t, change to a better alternative but don’t continue smoking cigarettes? Yes. We have been doing it for years. And we will continue to do it via this campaign.