Public Support Innovative Approaches to Reducing Smoking Rates – PMI Survey

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Three in four adults agree that governments should consider the role smoke-free products can play in tobacco harm reduction

Mar. 2, 2021 – A new international survey commissioned by Philip Morris International Inc. (PMI) and conducted by independent research firm Povaddo reveals a public appetite for a better approach to reducing societal harm caused by cigarettes.

Seven in ten respondents (71 percent) believe that encouraging those adults who would otherwise continue to smoke to switch to smoke-free alternatives instead can complement other efforts to reduce harm.

Public Support Innovative Approaches to Reducing Smoking Rates - PMI Survey Brandspurng
Photo by Mathew MacQuarrie

Conducted in December 2020 among 22,500+ adults in 20 countries and territories, the survey explores attitudes regarding the role of smoke-free alternatives in improving public health. The results reveal broad support for novel approaches to accelerating the decline of cigarette smoking. Specifically, the survey found that:

  • 73 percent of adults agree that governments should consider the role alternative products can play in making their country smoke-free.
  • 77 percent agree that adult smokers should have access to and accurate information about smoke-free alternatives that have been scientifically substantiated to be a better choice than continued smoking.
  • 67 percent of respondents say that if it is possible to end cigarette sales in their country within 10 to 15 years (through smokers quitting tobacco or switching to better, science-based alternatives), their government should dedicate time and resources to making that a reality.

Reducing smoking rates remains an important public health issue, with three in four respondents (76 percent) believing it is important for governments to dedicate time and resources to achieving this goal. However, a majority (58 percent) believe that more regulation and taxation of cigarettes will not be enough to achieve a smoke-free future.

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“Smoke-free products have already started to play an important role in lowering smoking rates,” said Jacek Olczak, Chief Operating Officer at PMI.

“With the right regulatory encouragement, support from civil society, and the full embrace of science, I believe it is possible for the public’s call to be answered and for cigarette sales to be a thing of the past in many countries within a decade to a decade and a half.”

A majority of adults surveyed want to see a shift in the societal approach to tobacco harm reduction, including more collaboration between governments and tobacco companies.

Moreover, nearly seven in ten respondents (68 percent) support tobacco companies working with governments, regulators, and public health experts to ensure smokers have access to and accurate information about the better, smoke-free alternatives science has made available.

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Further, eight in ten respondents believe both governments (88 percent) and businesses (81 percent) have a responsibility to embrace the latest scientific and technological developments.

The survey was fielded between December 8 and 24 among 22,507 general population adults aged 21 and older in 20 countries and territories: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, the Philippines, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Vietnam.

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