Philip Morris International Inc. (PMI) (NYSE:PM) today released a white paper titled “Unsmoke: Clearing the Way for Change” based on findings from a major international study conducted for the company by independent research firm Povaddo. There is no question that, while the best choice is to quit cigarettes and nicotine altogether, the reality is that many people don’t. The survey—conducted in 13 countries among adults aged 21 to 74—forms the basis of the paper’s exploration around two core themes: the impact of smoking on personal relationships and the lack of information available about smoke-free products. It reveals some of the barriers that might be preventing smokers from considering smoke-free alternatives over continued smoking.
“There is currently a tremendous amount of misinformation circulating about smoke-free products, and this is causing confusion. It is one of the biggest hurdles the world faces in becoming smoke-free,” said Jacek Olczak, chief operating officer at PMI. “The reality is there are better options available to adult smokers who don’t quit. There urgently needs to be a new global conversation—based on scientific research and facts—about these alternatives.”
Untruths and Consequences
The white paper looks at the public appetite for a better conversation around how to make cigarettes a thing of the past—it’s a desire that’s not being fulfilled. While four in five respondents agreed that change is needed, just over half of the adult smokers surveyed (55 percent) said they have the information they need to make an informed choice about smoke-free products. In Israel, only one in four (25 percent) said they have all the information they need; in Australia, it was also below half (43 percent). Compare that with Hong Kong (66 percent), Italy (64 percent) and Brazil (62 percent)—the difference is pronounced.
Demand for information is strong: 90 percent of the public is aware of e-cigarettes, and nearly seven in 10 (68 percent) current smokers said they would be more likely to consider switching to better alternatives such as e-cigarettes or heated tobacco products if they had clearer guidance on how these products differ from cigarettes. Across the 13 countries, the strongest consideration of switching as a result of better information was shown by the Latin American countries: Brazil and Mexico (both 85 percent) and Argentina (80 percent). The lowest likelihood was shown by two European neighbors: Germany (51 percent) and Denmark (47 percent).
The Impact of Smoking on Relationships
The report explores the current mindset toward smoking of both smokers and nonsmokers, and the role smoking—and unsmoking—plays in personal and social relationships.
Quitting cigarettes and nicotine altogether is the best option, but compared to continued smoking, using smoke-free alternatives may have less of an impact on personal relationships. Almost half of former smokers (48 percent) who have switched to smoke-free alternatives reported improved relationships with family and friends since switching, and 45 percent reported that their social lives have improved as a result, with a slightly higher proportion of men than women reporting this improvement (48 percent vs. 41 percent, respectively).
Intimate relationships are not the only ones affected: The survey revealed that unsmoking could have a positive impact on social lives. More than two-thirds (69 percent) of nonsmokers stated they don’t like visiting smokers’ homes because they feel uncomfortable being around smoke. Even outside the home, nonsmokers say the worst smell of cigarettes is on smokers’ clothes (77 percent). This was a major dislike in all age groups: 21-34 years (74 percent), 35-54 years (78 percent), 55-74 years (79 percent). There was little difference in views between genders, with 75 percent of men and 79 percent of women agreeing that the worst smell of a smoker is their clothes.
Unsmoking may offer further opportunities to close the social gap between smokers and nonsmokers. According to the survey, smokers experience social awkwardness—with half (53 percent) saying they feel uncomfortable around nonsmoking friends and relatives even while not smoking. Particularly notable differences can be observed between Latin American and European countries. In Latin America, the countries surveyed—Brazil, Mexico and Argentina—polled higher than average (at 61 percent, 55 percent and 51 percent, respectively) on this statement. In European countries, people were less likely to agree: In Denmark, only 25 percent of respondents agreed; in Italy, 39 percent; the U.K., 40 percent; and Germany, 44 percent.
“We are creating a movement to help the world unsmoke,” said Marian Salzman, senior vice president, global communications at PMI. “These results are from one of the largest cross-cultural polls ever conducted about the impact of smoking on relationships. They show us where there are differences in social values, but, more important, they reveal the similarities that will help the #unsmokeyourworld initiative move from person to person, city to city, and smoker to unsmoker to bring about global change.”
#Unsmokeyourworld is a PMI initiative to speed up a historic change in public health. Through the #unsmoke movement, we want to bring together a community of people who can accelerate this change by reinforcing the message that quitting cigarettes and nicotine altogether is the best choice any smoker can make and becoming advocates of the message that for smokers who would otherwise continue to smoke, there are better alternatives to choose from.
To read the full “Unsmoke: Clearing the Way for Change” white paper, visit: www.unsmokeyourworld.com/whitepaper
About the Povaddo Survey
This survey was carried out April 24-May 6, 2019, by Povaddo, a leading public opinion research firm, on behalf of Philip Morris International. The survey fielded a total of 16,099 online interviews among general population adults 21-74 years of age across 13 countries (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Denmark, Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, United Kingdom and United States). The survey carries an overall margin of error of +/- 1% at the 95 percent confidence interval.
#Unsmokeyourworld is a global conversation that inspires human stories—for the people, by the people. To learn more, visit UnsmokeYourWorld.com.
About 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 and its shareholders. PMI is a leading international tobacco company engaged in the manufacture and sale of cigarettes, smoke-free products and associated electronic devices and accessories, and other nicotine-containing products in markets outside the U.S. 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. For more information, please visit http://www.pmi.com and www.pmiscience.com.