Study: 48pc of former smokers have better social relationships after switching to smoke-free products

A new study suggests that swapping conventional cigarettes with less harmful alternatives can improve smokers’ ties with friends and family. — Reuters pic
A new study suggests that swapping conventional cigarettes with less harmful alternatives can improve smokers’ ties with friends and family. — Reuters pic

PETALING JAYA, Aug 21 — A global study conducted by Povaddo for Philip Morris International Inc (PMI) found that switching over to tobacco alternatives such as e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products can positively impact personal relationships.

Nearly half of former smokers surveyed (48 per cent) reported improved relationships with family and friends after switching to smoke-free alternatives while 45 per cent state that their social lives have improved after ditching conventional cigarettes.

The study also revealed that choosing smoke-free products over cigarettes could help quell social awkwardness between smokers and non-smokers.

More than two-thirds (69 per cent) of non-smokers are uncomfortable visiting a smoker’s home while 77 per cent say that the worst smell of cigarettes is that which lingers on a smoker’s clothes.

The dislike spans across all age groups with those aged 21 to 34 (74 per cent), 35 to 54 (78 per cent), and 55 to 74 (79 per cent) mostly in agreement.

Meanwhile, more than half of smokers (53 per cent) said they feel uncomfortable around non-smoking relatives and friends even while not lighting up.

The findings make up a recent white paper titled Unsmoke: Clearing the Way for Change released by PMI to generate public health discussions and examine the information gap between smokers and smoke-free products.

Results found that while four out of five participants agree that cigarettes should be a thing of the past, only 55 per cent said they had the necessary information needed to make an informed decision to start using smoke-free products.

More than 16,000 adults aged between 21 and 74 across 13 countries (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Denmark, Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, UK and US) took part in the study.

With these findings, PMI senior vice president of global communications Marian Salzman said that the company hopes to spearhead a global movement to help the world “unsmoke.”

“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 importantly, 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,” she said in a press release.

#Unsmokeyourworld is a PMI initiative designed to reinforce the message that while quitting cigarettes is the best choice any smoker can make, information about less harmful tobacco products should be made available to those who choose to continue smoking.

To read the white paper “Unsmoke: Clearing the Way for Change” in its entirety, click here.

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