Sunday Mail Reporter

Most people around the world want decisions made in both the public and private sector to “tackle critical issues” to be based on science and fact, a new study commissioned by US industrial behemoth, Philip Morris International, has revealed.

A recent white paper titled “In Support of the Primacy of Science” – produced from an independent survey conducted by Pavaddo for PMI – indicated that faith in science is still high.

Most of the people surveyed (77 percent) were hopeful that advances in science will solve many of society’s biggest problems.

However, despite these positive attitudes, nearly half of respondents (47 percent) believe that society does not place enough importance on science.

“Science can help make significant strides in our collective efforts to address the world’s most pressing problems,” said Dr Moira Gilchrist, vice president for strategic and scientific communications at PMI.

“Unfortunately, governments and broader society have yet to embrace science at its fullest potential, as this global survey shows. Ensuring facts and evidence are given greater prominence in policymaking . . . will help match the public’s expectations for science to sit at the heart of decisions impacting them and their future.”

Dr Gilchrist added: “When reliable scientific information is in short supply, misinformation, wild guesses, and hearsay can take more space and significantly hamper people’s ability to make informed decisions.”

The online survey, which was conducted between June 25 and July 8, involved over 19 000 adults across 19 countries and territories.

PMI is undergoing a fundamental transformation into a science- and technology-led company with the aim of delivering a smoke-free future — a future without cigarettes.

It is envisaged that with the right regulatory encouragement and support from civil society, this goal can be achieved in many countries in 10 to 15 years.

Since 2008, the company has invested billions of dollars in developing, testing, and manufacturing better alternatives to cigarettes for adults who would otherwise continue to smoke.

These products are the result of nearly two decades of research and work, underpinned by a rigorous scientific assessment programme and led by a team that today includes more than 430 world-class scientists and other experts.