Misinformation threatens progress toward a smoke-free future, reveals a new international survey released today by Philip Morris International Inc. (PMI) (NYSE: PM). Well-funded groups continue to promote false narratives and spread confusion even as societal support increases for smoke-free alternatives that are scientifically substantiated to be a better choice for adults than continued smoking.
The survey—fielded among nearly 30,000 adults in 26 countries by independent research firm Povaddo and commissioned by PMI—reveals that too many adult smokers remain unaware that better alternatives to cigarettes exist, are unable to access them, or are confused by false or misleading information that prevents them from making an informed choice.
There is clear public demand for a collective review of the facts and science about smoke-free products. Nearly eight in 10 respondents (79%) agree that adult smokers who would otherwise continue using cigarettes should have access to and accurate information about smoke-free alternatives. This view is shared by 87% of current adult smokers.
“People expect public health bodies and regulators to reach a scientific consensus around innovative smoke-free alternatives and provide adults who smoke with evidence-based information about these products,” said Grégoire Verdeaux, Senior Vice President, External Affairs at PMI. “Misinformation about smoke-free alternatives—often based on opinion—is a persistent issue that is having real-world consequences. Embracing facts, innovative technologies, and science is the shared responsibility of industry, health authorities, and government, and it’s the least we can do to drive positive change for the world. At Philip Morris International, we prioritize transparency as we transform our business to deliver a smoke-free future—inviting policymakers, the scientific community, and NGOs to review and verify our scientific findings. By providing adult smokers science-based information about better alternatives, we can accelerate the decline in smoking rates, helping to end the use of cigarettes once and for all.”
The survey also shows the extent of public confusion surrounding smoke-free products.
- Nearly half the adults surveyed wrongly believe that e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products are more harmful than or equally harmful as cigarettes (45% and 46%, respectively, for each product category).
- Asked why they have not considered switching to a better alternative, around a third of smokers surveyed cited lack of information about how these products differ from cigarettes (33%), uncertainty about the science (35%), or having easier access to cigarettes (32%), the most harmful form of tobacco consumption.
Promisingly, the survey findings also demonstrate how accurate information about better alternatives can help smokers to move away from cigarettes.
- The vast majority (91%) of adult smokers who have switched to a better alternative and stopped smoking confirmed that having accurate information about how these products differ from cigarettes was an important factor in their decision.
- Of adults who smoke, 63% would be more likely to switch to a better alternative (such as e-cigarettes or heated tobacco products) if they had clarity on how these products differ from cigarettes and the science behind them.
The survey also explores public attitudes toward scientific studies conducted by manufacturers of smoke-free products. A majority of adults surveyed (82%) believe their governments have a responsibility to objectively review and consider scientific evidence about smoke-free alternative products coming from manufacturers such as PMI. Additionally, nearly three quarters (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.
To review the complete survey findings, visit PMI.com/informedchoice
Povaddo Survey Methodology
Povaddo conducted this online survey on behalf of PMI between July 19 and August 3, 2021. The survey was fielded among 29,484 legal-aged adult respondents, drawn from the general population and aged 21 or older, in 26 countries: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, France, Greece, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Philip Morris International: Delivering a Smoke-Free Future
Philip Morris International (PMI) is leading a transformation in the tobacco industry to create a smoke-free future and ultimately replace cigarettes with smoke-free products to the benefit of adults who would otherwise continue to smoke, society, the company, its shareholders, and its other stakeholders. PMI is a leading international tobacco company engaged in the manufacture and sale of cigarettes, as well as smoke-free products, associated electronic devices and accessories, and other nicotine-containing products in markets outside the U.S. In addition, PMI ships versions of its IQOS Platform 1 device and consumables to Altria Group, Inc. for sale under license in the U.S., where these products have received marketing authorizations from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under the premarket tobacco product application (PMTA) pathway; the FDA has also authorized the marketing of a version of IQOS and its consumables as a Modified Risk Tobacco Product (MRTP), finding that an exposure modification order for these products is appropriate to promote the public health. PMI is building a future on a new category of smoke-free products that, while not risk-free, are a much better choice than continuing to smoke. Through multidisciplinary capabilities in product development, state-of-the-art facilities, and scientific substantiation, PMI aims to ensure that its smoke-free products meet adult consumer preferences and rigorous regulatory requirements. PMI’s smoke-free product portfolio includes heat-not-burn and nicotine-containing vapor products. As of June 30, 2021, PMI’s smoke-free products are available for sale in 67 markets in key cities or nationwide, and PMI estimates that approximately 14.7 million adults around the world have already switched to IQOS and stopped smoking. For more information, please visit www.pmi.com and www.pmiscience.com.