April 27, 2007

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A few facts about Altria/Philip Morris...


  • Cigarettes = toxic product; Philip Morris is spreading poison worldwide.
  • As a company in the business of selling death, Philip Morris is inherently socially IRRESPONSIBLE. It is targeting young people and sickening/killing millions worldwide


I. Tobacco Products are Toxic Products!
II. Tobacco's Global Toll
III. Altria/Philip Morris Facts
IV. Examples of How Philip Morris is Promoting Poison Around the World
V. Philip Morris International: How its Separation from Philip Morris USA Could Worsen the Global Public Health

I. Tobacco Products are Toxic and Poisonous!

About secondhand smoke (U.S. Surgeon General):

  • The National Toxicology Program estimates that at least 250 chemicals in secondhand smoke are known to be toxic or carcinogenic.
  • Secondhand smoke contains a number of poisonous gases and chemicals, including:
    • hydrogen cyanide (used in chemical weapons)
    • carbon monoxide (found in car exhaust)
    • butane (used in lighter fluid)
    • ammonia (used in household cleaners)
    • toluene (found in paint thinners).
  • Some of the toxic metals contained in secondhand smoke include:
    • arsenic (used in pesticides)
    • lead (formerly found in paint)
    • chromium (used to make steel)
    • cadmium (used to make batteries).
  • Among the 50 cancer-causing chemicals in secondhand smoke is radioactive polonium-210 (which someone used to poison former Russian KGB Alexander Litvinenko last year).
  • Eleven compounds* in tobacco smoke have been identified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as Group 1 (known human carcinogen) carcinogens. *2-naphthylamine, 4-aminobiphenyl, benzene, vinyl chloride, ethylene oxide, arsenic, beryllium, nickel compounds, chromium, cadmium and polonium-210

II. Tobacco's Global Toll
  • Half of all long-term smokers will die prematurely as a result of smoking - half of these in middle age.
  • Tobacco kills 5 million around the world each year.
  • By 2025, it is estimated that the global death toll will double to over 10 million deaths annually. That is the equivalent of 95 jet planes crashing each and every day of the year. 70% of all tobacco deaths will occur in developing countries
  • As existing smokers die the tobacco industry has to find new customers.
  • Tobacco is projected to kill 250 million children alive today if current trends continue.

III. Altria/Philip Morris Facts
  • Altria/Philip Morris is the world's largest multinational tobacco company. Its cigarette brands are sold in over 160 countries around the world.
  • Altria earns almost 2/3 of its tobacco revenues overseas, and sells 3/4 of its cigarettes outside US. Total tobacco revenue last year: $67 billion!
  • In the U.S., Philip Morris USA has a total retail share of about 50%.
  • Marlboro, a Philip Morris brand, is the cigarette brand sold most worldwide.
  • In August 2006, the company was found GUILTY of violating federal racketeering laws for deceiving the public about tobacco dangers.
  • CEO Leo Camilleri's compensation in 2006: $34,000,000
  • Altria spun-off Kraft Foods in March 2007, so the company is now solely focused on tobacco products. It is expected that the company will split its domestic and international tobacco units (Philip Morris USA and Philip Morris International) soon, perhaps as early as August 2007. Health groups worldwide are concerned that unleashing Philip Morris International could worsen the global tobacco epidemic.

Highlights from 2006 Altria Report:

  • Marlboro now has a 40.5% market share in the U.S., due largely to "strong performance" of Marlboro Menthol.
  • Philip Morris International increased its retail share of the world tobacco market to 15.4%.
  • In the last year, the company's international cigarette shipment volume increased 3.4%, fueled by "strong performances" in Indonesia, France, Russia, and Ukraine.
  • Philip Morris is strengthening its operations worldwide. It recently increased its stake in Pakistan's Lakson Tobacco from 50.2% to 90%, and hopes to establish a joint venture in China this year, with licensed production of Marlboros to follow.

IV. Examples of How Philip Morris is Promoting Poison Around the World


  • California: PM USA helped defeat a ballot initiative that called for a tax increase of $2.60 per cigarette pack
  • Montana: PM USA & PMI brings people from around the U.S. and world to experience "The West," including at places like the Marlboro Crazy Ranch
  • Virginia: In early 2007, PM USA broke its promise to stop opposing smoke-free workplace laws.
  • General: A study published in the December issue of the American Journal of Public Health found that Philip Morris' television ads purporting to discourage youth smoking are ineffective at best and the company's ads targeted at parents actually encourage kids to smoke.


  • Indonesia: PMI sponsors outdoor concerts attended by young children, provides "kiddie" basketball hoops at promotional events, and uses the Harlem MagicMasters and images of the Statue of Liberty to target young Indonesians. Many of this is in direct violation of PMI's own international marketing code!
  • India: PMI's subsidiary Godfrey Philips sponsors the "Bravery Awards", a way to get around India's tough tobacco control laws which ban tobacco sponsorship.
  • Argentina, Dominican Republic, Romania and Pakistan: PMI sponsors trendy concerts and events, e.g. with Formula 1 racing themes, that are attended by young people
  • Ukraine: PMI wraps cigarette packs with images of "Marlboro Adventures"; pack inserts give young people a chance to win trips to the U.S., among other prizes, and serve to collect valuable personal information for future marketing purposes
  • Bahrain: PMI recently broke its own pledge to end tobacco sponsorships of sports by December 2006, when it sponsored a racing team at the Bahrain Grand Prix in April 2007.

Click here to view the above examples and more

V. Philip Morris International: How its Separation from Philip Morris USA Could Worsen Global Public Health

An independent Philip Morris International (especially if it is based outside of the United States):

  • Will no longer feel constrained by public opinion in its home country and most important market, the United States.
  • Will no longer be subjected to accusations that it is employing double standards in how it behaves in the United States and in developing countries.
  • Will be immune to even the possibility of domestic regulation in the United States or litigation in U.S. courts.

This has been a real threat to Philip Morris. Recently, in the U.S. government case against Big Tobacco, Judge Gladys Kessler ruled that Philip Morris and the rest of Big Tobacco must stop using misleading terms like "light," "mild" and "low" (as in "Marlboro Lights"). Big Tobacco has used these terms to deceive smokers into thinking they are using a reduced risk product, when they are not. Judge Kessler ruled that the prohibition on use of these misleading terms extends to Philip Morris International. If an independent PMI had no connection to the United States, the judge would not have been able to issue this order.

An independent Philip Morris International is likely to be based in Switzerland, where the Philip Morris International subsidiary is now based. Even if it so desired, Switzerland will not be able to exert the same kind of restraining influence over PMI that the United States could. If it actually tried, Philip Morris could quickly leave: it has little historic connection to the country, does not have a huge market in Switzerland and does not have major investments in plants.

In other words, Philip Morris International may effectively be on the verge of converting itself into a corporation that is, from a practical standpoint, close to stateless.

  • In sum, an independent Philip Morris International is likely to be free of the regulatory, litigation and consumer actions -- or even the threat of such actions -- that has imposed some modest restraint on what it can do.
  • The U.S. cigarette market is rapidly declining. The growing markets are in the developing world, where regulatory and legal controls are, generally, weakest. An independent Philip Morris International, freed from its ties to the United States, stands poised to worsen the tobacco epidemic, dramatically.

Participating groups:
Youth Extinguishing Tobacco Team
(AR) •
Communities Under Siege/Ursa Institute (CA) • Allen Ortiz Consulting (NC)
Match Coalition (CT)
Essential Action (DC) • REAL (HI) • Just Eliminate Lies (IA) • reACT! (MT) REBEL (NJ)
No Limits (NE) • Dover Youth to Youth (NH) • Reality Check (NY) • stand (OH) • GYAT Network (international)

Essential Action's Global Partnerships for Tobacco Control program links tobacco control groups in the U.S. and Canada with groups in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Central/Eastern Europe to monitor and resist Big Tobacco's global expansion. For more information, visit our website