10 October 2017:
Corrective statements from Philip Morris USA and other tobacco companies will start to appear in the US media from 6 November 2017. The tobacco companies have been forced by a court order to tell the truth about their cigarettes and how they misled the public. This is the decision originally ordered by Judge Gladys Kessler in a lawsuit brought by the US government against the major US tobacco companies.
The consent order was signed on 5 October for tobacco companies to implement the corrective statement advertisements that they were ordered to make in 2006. These corrective advertisements will run in 45 newspapers and major television networks. The corrective statements include the following:
- Altria, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, Lorillard, and Philip Morris USA intentionally designed cigarettes to make them more addictive;
- More people die every year from smoking than from murder, AIDS, suicide, drugs, car crashes, and alcohol, combined;
- Cigarette companies intentionally designed cigarettes with enough nicotine to create and sustain addiction;
- When you smoke, the nicotine actually changes the brain – that is why quitting is so hard
- All cigarettes cause cancer, lung disease, heart attacks, and premature death – lights, low tar, ultralights, and naturals. There is no safe cigarette.
These corrective statement are being published only in the US media. Philip Morris, through its international company PMI, has sold and continues to sell the same addictive cigarettes, plus the lights, low tar and ultralights to the rest of the world; however it will not make these corrective statements internationally. Tobacco companies have the dubious reputation of not telling the truth about their products, unless compelled to by the law or the court.
To the rest of the world, instead of extending its admission of fraud and deception, PMI is now promoting a totally different message – a new ‘Foundation for a Smoke-free World’ that comes with almost USD1 billion in research funds. In other words no admission of consumer fraud, no corrective statements and no compensation for lives lost.
In many developing countries, it is business as usual to increase cigarette sales through misleading advertisements, fighting effective tobacco control measures and undermining government efforts to protect public health. For example:
Indonesia: PMI sells its “U MILD” brand priced cheap to appeal to young smokers from lower incomes, and advertises it as a brand that understands men and the “Bro code” between male friends. Its slogan is “Cowok U MILD lebih tahu”, means “U MILD guys know better”. PMI uses its front group, GAPRINDO, to fight tobacco control measures such as advertising ban and tax increase.
Philippines: PMI’s local affiliate, PMFTC, violated the Civil Service Commission-Department of Health Joint Memorandum Circular, which protects the bureaucracy against tobacco industry interference, by sponsoring two summits on climate change for public officials.
In the ASEAN region, Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam have been targeted by PMI to increase cigarette sales. PMI is investing USD 1.9 billion in Indonesia to beef-up its cigarette business. PMI’s annual report cites the Philippines as an important profit base.
In 1954 the former Chairman of Philip Morris said, “If we had any thought or knowledge that in any way we are selling a product harmful to consumers, we would stop business tomorrow. After 6 decades, tomorrow is still coming.
PMI’s tomorrow has no corrective statements for the addicted poor smokers, no responsibility for the dead, no compensation for the families who lost their loved ones. In PMI’s tomorrow, it wants to remain in the tobacco business, retain its world No.1 company position and still derive its profits from addictive and harmful tobacco.