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Quitting cigarettes or switching to smoke-free alternative improves relationships between smokers and family and friends, a new study has reported.

The study from Philip Morris International (PMI) titled ‘Unsmoke: Clearing the Way for Change’ highlighted the inadequate information available to smokers on how to quit smoking or switch to smoke-free products.

“Currently, there is a tremendous amount of misinformation circulating about smoke-free products, and this is causing confusion. It is one of the biggest hurdles the world faces in becoming smoke-free. The reality is there are better options available to adult smokers who don’t quit. There urgently needs to be a new global conversation based on scientific research and facts about these alternatives,” said Jacek Olczak, Chief Operating Officer at PMI. 

The research which was conducted in 13 countries involving adults aged 21-74 years revealed that almost half of former smokers 48%, who switched to smoke-free alternatives reported improved relationships with family and friends. Vaping is less harmful than smoking.

Another 45 percent said that their social lives improved since switching from cigarettes and nicotine smoking. However, 48% of men reported social improvement compared to women at 41%.

The survey further revealed that unsmoking could have a positive impact on social lives. About two-thirds, 69% of nonsmokers noted that they don’t like visiting smokers’ homes because they feel uncomfortable being around smoke.

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77% of nonsmokers said the clothes of smokers carry the smell of cigarettes. The smoke smell dislikes among age groups were categorized into 74% in 21-34 years, 78% in 35-54 years, and 79% in the 55-74 years.

Smokers revealed that they experience social awkwardness with 53% saying they feel uncomfortable around nonsmoking friends and relatives even while not smoking.

On having information regarding smoke-free alternatives, 68% of smokers said they would consider switching to better alternatives if they had clearer guidance on how these products differ from cigarettes. 90% of the public stated that they are aware of e-cigarettes or heated tobacco products.

“We are creating a 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 important, they reveal the similarities that will help the #unsmokeyourworld initiative move from person to person, city to city, and smoker to nonsmoker to bring about global change,” said Marian Salzman, senior vice president, global communications at PMI. 

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Brenda Gamonde is reporter with Business Today. Email: [email protected]

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