Philip Morris Corporate Affairs

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

The goal of Philip Morris Corporate Affairs Department is to favorably position Philip Morris with key audiences, particularly policymakers, and create conditions favorable to advancing PM's corporate interests in the legislative, political, social and cultural arenas.

Description

PM's Corporate Affairs Department consists of 5 groups or offices: Public Affairs, Washington Government Relations, Communications, External Affairs, Policy and Administration.

Internal PM documents reveal that PM's Corporate Affairs department is responsible for implementing strategies to thwart public health efforts to reducing smoking. A September 1993 "Strictly Confidential" PM USA Corporate Affairs Plan states a goal of corporate affairs is to "Stop the decline in, and start re-building the social acceptability of smokers and smoking in society."[1] Other Goals of PM Corporate Affairs have included preventing cigarette excise tax initiatives from reaching the ballot, thwarting passage of public smoking restrictions and efforts to limit tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.[2] Corporate Affairs is also responsible for building fake, corporate "grassroots" coalitions to help PM fight a wide variety of public health initiatives to reduce tobacco use.[3]

Corporate Affairs activities

Western Europe

A November, 1993 "strategic plan" written by Philip Morris (PM) Corporate Affairs Department in Europe describes PM's strategies for fighting the spread of smoke-free laws in Europe between 1994 and 1996. The plans labels both voluntary and legislated smoking restrictions in workplaces, public places and on public transport as "threats." PM also considered conferences held to discuss smoking and health to be "threats." PM's "overall objectives" were to protect smoking as a permitted activity, prevent legislation the company believed was adverse to its interests, to "promote private sector policies that accommodate smokers" and "mitigate [the] impact of [International Agency for Research on Cancer] ETS study," which PM anticipated would mirror conclusions already reached in the U.S. that exposure to secondhand smoke was harmful.

PM's attack plan included delaying smoking restrictions within the European Community (EC), "locking in" the company's own model legislation in multiple countries, promoting policies that preserve smoking in workplaces, "pre-empting sub-national bans with suitable national legislation," creating an information bureau in Brussels, Belgium to "counteract pressure of antis" by "disseminating favourable views" about tobacco, creating additional smokers' rights groups in Italy, Spain, France, the Netherlands and Greece, and increasing assistance to existing smoker groups already set up in Denmark and the United Kingdom. Other activities included defeating an EC directive to eliminate smoking from public transport, portraying U.S. smoking restrictions in the European media as "extremist, indicative of intolerance and health fascism," and much, much more.

PM Corporate Affairs' November, 1993 strategic plan reveals not only the extent of PM corporate strategies to fight public health efforts in Europe, but demonstrates the extent of PM's intent to interfere in European affairs.[4]

Eastern Europe

A January, 1993 PM Corporate Affairs (PMCA) Plan discusses the company's goals, objectives and strategies for 1994-1996 in the areas of Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (EEMA). One PMCA objective was to "Stop the decline in, and start re-building to social acceptability of smokers and smoking in society." Reasons given for PM's concern about the declining social acceptability of smoking include that the situation threatened PM's profits, as well as the effect it had on the company's ability to recruit allies and influence government:

"While the ultimate threat is widespread public smoking bans...we also risk consumption decreases due to shrinking possibilities to smoke at the workplace as well as a deterioration of the social acceptability of smokers and smoking. With the lack of social acceptability, we will face further problems in ally-building and Government Relations work."

As part of its '94-96 plan on the secondhand smoke issue in this region, PMCA hoped to "...influence the setting of indoor air quality and ventilation standards."

PMCA also sought to take the focus of the secondhand smoke issue off of science and health: "The messages on ETS related issues will focus on solutions and accommodation, rather than on a scientific debate," and "We will encourage [Philip Morris Inc.] to initiate and fund research into the causes and consequences of social intolerance, aiming at broadening the political debate about bans / laws / tolerance in our societies."

The document also discusses PMCA activities on excise taxes, fighting restrictions on advertising and sponsorship, strategies for corporate contributions and more, in the countries of Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, the Czech Republic, the Slovak Republic, Poland, Egypt, Denmark Austria, Hungary, Russia, Kazakhstan, the Gulf Council Countries (GCC), Baltic States and Syria.[5]



Related Sourcewatch resources

References

  1. TYP 940000 - 960000 - SGC, 930900 EEMA Regional Corporate Affairs Philip Morris. Report. September, 1993. Bates NO. 2500118564/8584, at page 2
  2. PM USA Corporate Affairs Presentation 931216 Philip Morris. Presentation. December 16, 1993. 119 pp. Bates No.2044336000/6118
  3. Remarks by Ellen Merlo, Vice President Corporate Affairs Philip Morris U.S.A., Philip Morris U.S.A. Vendor Conference, Grand Hyatt Hotel, New York City, Tuesday, 940125 Merlo, E. Philip Morris. Speech/presentation. January 25, 1994. Bates No. 2044336068/6114
  4. Philip Morris Philip Morris Corporate Affairs Europe Smoking Restrictions 3 year Plan 1994-1996 Speech/presentation. November, 1993. 35 pages. Bates No. 2025497317/7351
  5. Philip Morris Corporate Affairs TYP 940000 - 960000 - SGC, 930900 EEMA Regional Corporate Affairs Report. September, 1993. 21 pp. Bates No. 2500118564/8584

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