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Home News Governments need to keep up with innovative breakthroughs to benefit public health: PMI survey

Governments need to keep up with innovative breakthroughs to benefit public health: PMI survey

November 12, 2023

Photo: iStock

A new international survey conducted for Philip Morris International by independent research firm Povaddo shows a majority of respondents believing that policymakers are too slow in embracing technological breakthroughs and innovation.

Almost three in four (74%) said the governments’ failure to act in a timely fashion has negative consequences for public health.

The independently conducted survey—fielded among 30,591 general population adults aged 21 or older in 15 countries, including the UK—demonstrates considerable global support for policy changes that would improve access to scientifically substantiated smoke-free products:

  • 63 percent support harm reduction as an appropriate approach to help move adult consumers who do not quit smoking away from cigarettes to less harmful alternatives such as e-cigarettes and heated tobacco.
  • Over half of respondents (56 percent) believe their governments need to consider the role that smoke-free alternatives can play in eradicating cigarette use in their country.
  • Respondents overwhelmingly agree that impacted people’s voices must be heard, with 81 percent stating that governments need to consider the views of adults who smoke or use other nicotine products when deciding how to regulate different nicotine products.

“In a world that demands change, it is imperative that regulators and public health officials hear from those most impacted by a policy of inaction,” said Gregoire Verdeaux, senior vice president, external affairs at PMI.

“In the case of cigarettes, those paying the highest price are adult smokers in need of better options. Their voices, needs, and aspirations must be central to the strategies and policies crafted to create a better future.”

The survey sheds light on the vital role of ensuring adults have access to accurate and scientifically substantiated information about better alternatives to continued smoking.

  • Nearly three-quarters of adult smokers say they would be more likely to consider smoke-free alternatives if their governments provided information on how these products differ from cigarettes. Too often, such information is not available to them, with 42 percent of respondents saying they do not have the right tools and information to make the best choices for their health.
  • It’s not just people who smoke who are dissatisfied with current policies: Among the general population, eight in 10 (80 percent) believe adult smokers should have access to, and accurate information about a range of smoke-free products.

The survey reveals that citizens want their governments to embrace innovation and rely on scientific facts and data to guide their decision-making. However, the majority (55%) expressed concern that their government is moving too slowly in embracing technological breakthroughs and innovation, and 92 per cent are calling for public health policy to be regularly reexamined to ensure it keeps up with scientific and technological advances.

“Across the world, people are counting on their governments to stay on top of technological developments while ensuring innovative products are appropriately regulated,” said Verdeaux. “Too often, they are finding that government policies fail to keep pace with industry advances.”