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Survey: Misinformation is Becoming a Major Roadblock To a Smoke-Free Future In M’sia & Worldwide

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Source: iStock & Philip Morris International

Misinformation threatens progress toward a smoke-free future, reveals a new international survey released 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.

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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.

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“It is clear that key independent scientific findings on the benefits of alternatives to smoking are not being sufficiently communicated to adult smokers,” said Naeem Shahab Khan, Managing Director at Philip Morris (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd. “Communicating facts and science about better alternatives is very important to adult smokers in order to rapidly reduce cigarette smoking rates and I am sure that if all parties including public health bodies and government work together to do that, we can make our smoke-free vision a reality.”

Malaysia was one of the markets included in the survey, where 1,105 legal age citizens were sampled. According to the National Health and Morbidity Survey 2019, Malaysia has an estimated smoking population of 4.8 million. The results of the survey clearly illustrates the extent of public confusion surrounding smoke-free products.

  • More than half the adults surveyed wrongly believe that e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products are more harmful than or equally harmful as cigarettes (57% and 62%, respectively, for each product category).
  • Asked why they have not considered switching to a better alternative, around a third of smokers surveyed cited a lack of information about how these products differ from cigarettes (33%) and uncertainty about the science (40%).

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Promisingly, the survey findings also demonstrate how accurate information about better alternatives can help smokers to move away from cigarettes.

  • The vast majority (95%) 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, 66% 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.

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The survey also explores public attitudes toward scientific studies conducted by manufacturers of smoke-free products. A majority of adults surveyed (85%) 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, more than half of the respondents (68%) support tobacco companies working with governments, regulators, and public health experts to ensure that smokers have access to accurate information about smoke-free alternatives.

“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.”

To review the complete survey findings, visit PMI.com/informedchoice

 

Also read: Heating vs. Burning? 5 Benefits Of Smoke-Free Products That Most M’sians Don’t Know About

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Source: iStock
Source: iStock
Source: Vape.HK

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