From Idaho comes the latest evidence that the tobacco industry will go to great lengths — and spare no expense — to protect its profits and defeat measures proven to keep kids from smoking.
According to a report in the Idaho Falls Post Register, the Altria Group, the nation’s largest tobacco company and parent of Philip Morris USA, spent more money lobbying Idaho officials last year than any other group. Altria spent $165,076 lobbying in the state in 2011 — it’s the only group to spend more than $100,000, and its total is 82 percent more than the next biggest spender.
Ready to take on Big Tobacco, California health advocates have launched a blockbuster campaign for a ballot measure to raise the state’s cigarette tax by $1 a pack and use the money to fund programs to prevent tobacco use and boost cancer research.
The effort to pass Proposition 29, a ballot initiative to be put to voters in June, brought public officials, health advocates, cancer survivors, students – and mattresses bearing the slogan “Let’s See Who’s In Bed with Big Tobacco” – to kickoff events in cities and towns all up and down the Golden State.
States around the country are getting wise to the tobacco industry's promotion of products such as sweet-flavored cigars and smokeless tobacco as a way to hook kids and offset the decline in cigarette smoking: Increasingly, governors and lawmakers are proposing higher taxes on "other tobacco products" that too often have been left out when cigarette taxes are hiked.
Brightly colored packages for products labeled "fresh," "wintergreen" and "java" just aren't what they seem, youth tobacco-control advocate Judy Hou says.
"They're these little packages that you can stick in your pocket," says Hou. "They look like Tic Tacs."
In fact, they're dissolvable tobacco products, and the subject of Food and Drug Administration hearings this week on whether these new smokeless products and the marketing used to promote them appeal to kids and pose a public health threat.
South Korea’s leading cigarette manufacturer, KT&G, has launched a new line of super-slim cigarettes and is directly targeting women around the globe in a marketing campaign that promotes the brand as smart and sophisticated.
"Love Smart" declares a Jakarta billboard for Esse, which pictures a slim woman in a sleek blue dress.
Senegal’s health officials are outraged at a sudden price cut of nearly 40 percent in Philip Morris International’s top-selling Marlboro brand, saying that the deep discount puts profits over health.
The global tobacco giant stunned Senegal, which is already struggling with soaring adult and youth smoking rates, when it announced the price cut last month. AFP reports that officials and the public are alarmed.
Tonight's Orange Bowl game in Miami will kick off without the cloud of a tobacco sponsorship hanging over it: Bowl officials cancelled a planned three-year sponsorship by Camacho Cigars after public health groups, three U.S. senators and thousands of activists protested that the sponsorship would have helped market tobacco products to young fans.
WASHINGTON, DC — The Orange Bowl Committee has done the right thing for the nation’s kids and health by canceling a planned three-year sponsorship by Camacho Cigars.
Ten national public health and medical groups have called on the Orange Bowl Committee and the NCAA to cancel a cigar company sponsorship of the marquee college football game to prevent tobacco marketing at one of the nation’s premier sporting events.
Davidoff of Geneva, parent company of Camacho Cigars, last week announced that it has signed a three-year deal making Camacho Cigars a corporate sponsor of the Orange Bowl Festival, which includes the 2012, 2013, and 2014 Discover Orange Bowls, the 2013 Discover BCS National Championship game and related fan events. The 2013 Discover BCS National Championship game will draw particularly intense fan interest and media attention.
WASHINGTON, DC — Major public health groups are calling on the Orange Bowl Committee and the NCAA to cancel a cigar company sponsorship of the marquee college football game, saying that promoting tobacco at sporting events entices teenagers and young men, and puts them at risk of developing a deadly addiction.
WASHINGTON, DC — The U.S. Department of Justice today announced a proposed agreement (consent order) with several tobacco companies that finalizes requirements for the companies to continue disclosing internal industry documents, as ordered by U.S. District Court Judge Gladys Kessler in her 2006 judgment that the major tobacco companies have violated civil racketeering laws and engaged in a decades-long scheme to defraud the American people.
The tobacco industry has maneuvered around marketing restrictions aimed at protecting youth and found yet another way to hook kids when they're young: Flavored "little cigars" that are so cheap kids can easily afford them, and so sweet with kid-friendly flavors that some young smokers believe they're less addictive than cigarettes.
Washington, DC (November 17, 2011) — Maryland health officials warned today of a growing threat to youth from the marketing of flavored little cigars, noting that cigar smoking among Maryland youth is climbing even as cigarette smoking has declined.
A California-based company is promoting flavored cigars called "Hoodwraps" to inner-city youth, using names such as "Da Bomb Blueberry" and "Swag Berry," and even handing out free samples in downtown Indianapolis.
Trendsettah USA is marketing the cigars with "street teams" — inner-city youth recruited to give out the samples. The slogan for Hoodwraps: "So Hood. So Good." The aggressive promotion has angered local tobacco-control advocates, who note that urban youth in Indiana are more likely to begin smoking at an earlier age than the national average.
World Health Organization Director-General Margaret Chan has accused the tobacco industry of dirty tricks and unethical behavior in its latest efforts to challenge tobacco-control laws and policies around the world.
Altria and altruism just don't mix.
Neither does the tobacco giant's financial sponsorship of an "Adolescent Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Symposium" in Nashville next month.
Spurred by reports that the Chinese National Tobacco Corporation is sponsoring at least 100 elementary schools — promoting their brands and logos among children — CNN interviewed Dr. Judith Mackay of the World Lung Foundation on the role the state-owned company plays in fostering the tobacco epidemic in China.
In an apparent attempt to lure young smokers, China National Tobacco Corporation (CNTC) is sponsoring at least 100 elementary schools in China.
CNTC financed construction of these schools, which are named after Chinese cigarette brands and sometimes bear slogans such as "Talent comes from hard work, Tobacco helps you become talented." Many of the schools also feature the company's logo of a green tobacco leaf.
Philip Morris International CEO Louis Camilleri told company shareholders in New York recently that it's "not that hard to quit" smoking. But the words of a real smoker, sick and wheezing, speak truth to tobacco industry power.
In a new video from Legacy’s truth® campaign, "Steve" speaks through a tracheotomy hole, coughs and wheezes as he sets the story straight: "Having my vocal cords removed definitely helped me quit smoking…and talking."
With Indonesia in the grip of what it calls an "uncontrolled tobacco epidemic," ABC’s 20/20 turns its cameras beyond the shocking images of smoking babies and schoolchildren to spotlight the role of lax government regulation and Philip Morris International’s marketing to youth.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius takes on the tobacco companies that filed suit to block new graphic warning labels from appearing on cigarette packs, saying this would be "a huge setback for our children’s health."
From Philip Morris International’s Indonesian subsidiary Sampoerna comes a new billboard with a jaw-dropping slogan: "Dying is better than leaving a friend. Sampoerna is a cool friend."
See it in the full post.
Newspapers around the country have reached their own verdict on the latest tobacco companies' lawsuit challenging the new, graphic cigarette pack warning labels required under the 2009 law giving the Food and Drug Administration the authority to regulate tobacco.
The decision: Big Tobacco is guilty again.
Last week, major tobacco companies again showed their aversion to the truth when they filed yet another lawsuit to block the FDA from implementing new, graphic warning labels on cigarettes.
The new warnings show and tell the truth about cigarettes — that they are addictive and deadly, causing cancer, heart disease and other serious illnesses. But the tobacco companies claim that being forced to tell the truth would violate their First Amendment rights.
Thanks to CBS's "60 Minutes," we have a timely reminder of just how far Big Tobacco will go to suppress the truth.