PMI Calls for Science-Based Discourse on Smoke-Free Alternatives

PMI Calls for Science-Based Discourse on Smoke-Free Alternatives
PMI Calls for Science-Based Discourse on Smoke-Free Alternatives
  • New international survey reveals misinformation is leading to confusion about smoke-free products

 South Africa, 9th November 2021 – Misinformation threatens progress toward a smoke-free future, reveals a new international survey released by Philip Morris International (PMI).

The survey—fielded among nearly 30,000 adults in 26 countries including South Africa 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.

Promisingly, the survey findings also demonstrate how accurate information about better alternatives can help smokers to move away from cigarettes with 93% of South African respondents who have switched to better alternatives and stopped smoking confirming that accurate information about how these products differ from cigarettes was an important factor in their decision to switch.

There is clear public demand for a collective review of the facts and science about smoke-free products. According to the survey, 87% of all South African respondents agree that adult smokers who would otherwise continue smoking cigarettes should have access to, and accurate information about smoke-free alternatives. This is supported by 92% of current adult smokers in SA.

Smoke-Free Alternatives
Smoke-Free Alternatives

“It’s clear that accurate information about smoke-free products plays a critical role to help adults who would otherwise continue smoking, to change to less harmful alternatives. Persistent misinformation is causing confusion and holding adult smokers who do not quit from making more informed choices than continued smoking,” says Rishaad Hajee, Head of Corporate Communications at Philip Morris South Africa. “By providing adult smokers with science-based information about better alternatives, we can accelerate the decline in smoking rates, helping to end the use of cigarettes once and for all.”

The survey also shows the extent of public confusion surrounding smoke-free products and highlights that misinformation is a persisting threat with real-world consequences for people who smoke in this country. This is evident with 47% of South African respondents believing that e-cigarettes are more or equally harmful than cigarettes, while 43% say the same for heated tobacco products. Among current adult smokers, these figures stand at 42% for e-cigarettes and 41% for heated tobacco products.

88% of current South African smokers surveyed said that they would be more likely to switch to a better alternative if they had clarity on how these products differ from cigarettes and the science behind them.

Addressing misinformation with facts and science is seen by the public as a collective responsibility to achieve a smoke-free future faster.

86% of all South African respondents support tobacco companies working with governments, regulators, and public health experts to ensure that smokers have access to and accurate information about smoke-free alternatives. Similarly, respondents believe governments have a responsibility to objectively review and consider scientific evidence about smoke-free alternative products coming from manufacturers such as PMI.

88% believe that intergovernmental organisations like the World Health Organization (WHO) have a responsibility to provide adult smokers with evidence-based information about smoke-free alternatives.

Branislav Bibic, Managing Director of Philip Morris South Africa, says the biggest stand out from the results showed that misinformation is delaying progress by preventing those adult smokers who would otherwise continue smoking cigarettes from switching to better alternatives. “The results of this survey demonstrate that people want accurate information about better alternatives to cigarettes, and the science behind them,” he says.

“With the right regulatory encouragement, support from civil society, and the full embrace of science, a smoke-free future is possible in South Africa sooner rather than later, with cigarette sales becoming a thing of the past. The draft Control of Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Systems Bill provides the country with an opportunity to make this a possibility by differentiating the way in which scientifically substantiated products that don’t burn tobacco are regulated compared to cigarettes,” he concludes.

Povaddo Survey Methodology

Povaddo conducted this online survey on behalf of PMI between July 19 and August 3, 2021. The survey was fielded among 29,484 legal-aged adult respondents, drawn from the general population and aged 21 or older, in 26 countries: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, France, Greece, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

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, its shareholders and other stakeholders. PMI is a leading international tobacco company engaged in the manufacture and sale of cigarettes, as well as smoke-free products, associated electronic devices and accessories, and other nicotine-containing products in markets outside the U.S. In addition, versions of PMI’s IQOS Platform 1 device and consumables have received marketing authorizations from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under the premarket tobacco product application (PMTA) pathway; the FDA has also authorized the marketing of a version of IQOS and its consumables as a Modified Risk Tobacco Product (MRTP), finding that an exposure modification order for these products is appropriate to promote the public health. 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. PMI’s smoke-free product portfolio includes heat-not-burn products, nicotine-containing vapor products and oral nicotine products. As of September30, 2021, PMI’s smoke-free products are available for sale in 70 markets in key cities or nationwide, and PMI estimates that approximately 14.9 million adults around the world have already switched to IQOS and stopped smoking. For more information, please visit and