The Washington Post

DECIPHERIN­G FACT FROM FICTION TO SOLVE TODAY’S MOST PRESSING ISSUES.

- By Gregoire Verdeaux Sr. Vice President, External Affairs, Philip Morris Internatio­nal

At the core of democracy is the duty of policymake­rs to consider the public’s voice. More than ever, people are demanding to be involved with issues that affect them—from climate change to rebuilding after the pandemic. As world leaders convene for the 76th United Nations General Assembly, no longer can experts say: “This is too complicate­d for you to understand.”

Public debate and the exchange of ideas yield public consensus, and when policymake­rs consider this consensus, collective action occurs. But to ensure that this action is transforma­tive, it needs to be guided by the best available science and fact.

In an era of hyper-personaliz­ed media—where it becomes a challenge to distinguis­h between facts, interpreta­tion, opinions, and misinforma­tion—an open and transparen­t discourse that considers all the informatio­n is necessary if the public are to be reassured. Under the lens of public scrutiny, it’s not credible for policymake­rs to simply rely on the static—and sometimes entrenched—views of a few.

In the tobacco industry, the need for an ongoing comprehens­ive and collective review of public opinion and the latest scientific data is critical in transformi­ng the industry and for the benefit of public health. As with other global challenges, adults worldwide are calling for greater action and greater inclusion.

According to an internatio­nal survey conducted by independen­t research firm Povaddo and commission­ed by PMI, a majority of adults surveyed (81%) believe that their government has a responsibi­lity to objectivel­y review and consider scientific evidence about smoke-free alternativ­e products coming from manufactur­ers such as PMI.* Additional­ly, nearly three quarters (72%) 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.*

At Philip Morris Internatio­nal, we strive for transparen­cy as we transform our business to deliver a smoke-free future—inviting policymake­rs, the scientific community, and NGOS to review and verify our scientific findings.

By scrutinizi­ng facts and including all voices, we can achieve public consensus faster and take well-informed collective action against the many challenges our world is facing. Embracing facts, new technologi­es, and science is our shared responsibi­lity and the least we can do to drive positive change for the world.

United by real facts, we can drive real progress.

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