Smokers want better alternatives to cigarettes, poll finds

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At least eight in ten Australians believe adult smokers should have access to alternative products – if they have the potential to reduce the risk of smoking compared with cigarettes.

So says a recent Ipsos survey commissioned by Philip Morris International.

The poll reveals that at least seven in ten of the 1,000 surveyed Australians also believe the government should “do all it can” to encourage adult smokers who don’t quit cigarettes to switch to better alternatives.

‘Common sense’

“Public opinion aligns with common sense,” Managing Director of Philip Morris Australia Tammy Chan said. “And the recent Ipsos survey confirms what we’ve heard for a very long time.

“The survey shows that most people in Australia agree that smoking is still a serious public-health problem. They want to see action to tap into the opportunity (of) alternatives to cigarettes that are scientifically substantiated.”

According to the survey, more than eight in ten respondents believe consumer-goods companies have an obligation to continually research and innovate their products in the interest of public health. However, only two in five thought authorities had “done a good job” ensuring everyone has access to the latest innovations.

“Clearly, society does not want governments to block promising solutions to public-health problems,” Ms Chan said. “Society wants to see adult smokers given the choice to switch to better alternatives that are properly regulated to ensure manufacturing standards are met and youth are prevented access.”

‘The science is clear’

“The science is clear,” Ms Chan went on. “The evidence shows that switching to a smoke-free product is a better choice than continuing to smoke. We simply cannot continue to deny the three million Australian smokers access to these alternative products, which other like-minded countries have already embraced.

“From the UK to the USA, New Zealand to Canada, smoke-free products such as e-cigarettes and heated tobacco are a way to meaningfully reduce smoking rates and get smokers off the most dangerous form of tobacco.”

Ms Chan says international groups such as the American Cancer Society, Cancer Research UK, Royal College of Physicians, and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists have all endorsed the science.

“The message is clear,” she concluded. “People want governments to give smokers better choices.”