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Philip Morris pushes for smoking alternatives

philipsLeading tobacco company Philip Morris is pushing for the Government to exert more effort to provide consumers with innovative smoking alternatives to cigarettes.

Together with Ipsos, the company’s latest survey showed that 77 per cent of adults agree that Governments should encourage men and women to switch to better smoking alternatives.

The multinational survey has shown that innovation and technology play a role in solving health issues related to smoking cigarettes.

“This survey shows that most people around the world agree that smoking is still a serious public health problem. They want to see action to tap into the opportunity provided by alternatives to cigarettes that are scientifically substantiated. We are in complete agreement with that view. Public opinion aligns with common sense, and the survey confirms what we have heard for more than a decade,” said Dr. Moira Gilchrist, vice president of Scientific and Public Communications at Philip Morris International.

The survey also showed that 86 per cent believe consumer goods companies should continuously research and innovate their products in the interest of public health. However, only 35 per cent thought that Governments did a good job to ensure everyone has access to the latest innovations.

The World Health Organization (WHO) held the Tobacco Control (FCTC) Conference of Parties (COP) last week in Switzerland. There were 181 member countries and non-governmental organisations who attended the conference to decide on global tobacco control policy recommendations.

Philip Morris said that despite some states taking on progressive roles on the cigarette issue, the disappointing outcome of the COP means smokers still don’t have any better alternatives.

“The science is clear. The evidence shows that switching to a smoke-free product is a better choice than continuing to smoke. We simply cannot keep smokers in the dark about this information. The COP missed an opportunity to put people and science at the heart of its policymaking,” added Dr Gilchrist.

Philip Morris said that the tobacco industry has been discouraged from innovating and inadvertently encouraged to keep cigarettes at the core of their business.

“Despite this, at [Philip Morris], we will not waiver from our commitment to provide the world’s 1.1 billion smokers with better alternatives to cigarettes, as well as information about these options,” said Philip Morris in a statement.

“With any other global problem, from the environment to obesity, everyone works together to deliver better alternatives, inform people about them and [have an incentive for] them to change [their] behavior. Why should this common sense approach not apply to tobacco?” concluded Dr Gilchrist.

The majority of those surveyed (92 per cent) agreed that new products must have robust scientific testing before being released to the market and once these products are introduced, their impact needs to be monitored to ensure they are reducing the harm caused by cigarettes.

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