All Industry Watch Updates


Across the United States, poison control centers continue to report soaring numbers of accidental poisonings related to the nicotine liquid used in electronic cigarettes.

The American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) reports that, through August 31, there have been 2,724 calls so far this year involving exposures to e-cigarette devices and liquid nicotine.  That is up from 1,542 in 2013, 460 in 2012 and 271 in 2011.

These reports have spurred a growing call by public health organizations and members of Congress to require child-resistant packaging of nicotine liquid products.


Philip Morris International's “Be Marlboro” campaign is coming under fire again for targeting youth. This time, the consumer protection agency from the Brazilian state of São Paulo has fined Philip Morris over $480,000.

The agency acted after a formal complaint was filed against Philip Morris by tobacco control activists who documented how its marketing tactics were aimed at youth. Paula Johns, Executive Director of the Brazilian advocacy organization ACT, calls the campaign "cynical", noting that “independence and autonomy are associated with a product that actually makes the person dependent."

PRESS RELEASE | Jul 31, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC – A new government study published today shows that 17.4 million Americans – 7.3 percent of U.S. adults – smoke cigars every day, some days or rarely. This study shows that cigar smoking is a serious public health problem that must be addressed through strategies such as Food and Drug Administration regulation of all cigars and taxation of cigar products at the same rate as cigarettes.


Despite international media criticism and widespread calls from public health groups and government officials to end its "Be Marlboro" marketing campaign, Philip Morris International is doubling down and expanding its youth-oriented campaign around the globe.

A March 2014 report by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and other public health groups exposed how the campaign uses themes and images sure to appeal to youth. With the slogan "Don’t be a Maybe. Be Marlboro," the ads feature images of attractive young people falling in love, playing music, partying, and taking risks.

PRESS RELEASE | Jul 15, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC — The proposed merger of the Reynolds American and Lorillard tobacco companies raises important questions that go beyond antitrust. It raises important public health issues as well because it would bring together two tobacco giants with a long history of marketing to kids and deceiving the public about the deadly consequences of their products. These companies sell two of the three most popular cigarette brands among U.S. youth (Lorillard's Newport and Reynolds' Camel) and the most popular smokeless tobacco brand among youth (Grizzly, made by Reynolds' American Snuff Company subsidiary).

PRESS RELEASE | Jun 23, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC – Design changes and chemical additives introduced by tobacco companies in recent decades have made cigarettes more addictive, more attractive to kids and even more deadly, according to a report issued today by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

The report, titled Designed for Addiction, details how tobacco companies purposely design cigarettes to make tobacco smoke smoother, less harsh and more appealing to new users, especially kids, and to create and sustain addiction to nicotine. Tobacco companies have made these changes without regard for the health impact and actually have increased smokers’ risk of developing lung cancer.


A new documentary from the BBC calls out Philip Morris International for its global marketing campaign promoting Marlboro cigarettes that has been found to target youth. The BBC report finds the "Be Marlboro" ad campaign is "aimed unashamedly at young people."

A report released in March by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and other public health groups exposed how the "Be Marlboro" ads uses themes and images sure to appeal to youth. The ads have spread to more than 50 countries despite being banned by a German court for targeting teens.


The CDC's 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, released on Thursday, had both good news and bad news. The good news: a big decline in cigarette smoking among high school students from 18.1 percent in 2011 to 15.7 percent in 2013.

The bad news: essentially no change in cigar smoking or smokeless tobacco use. In fact, high school boys now smoke cigars at the same rate as cigarettes (16.5 percent for cigars and 16.4 percent for cigarettes). Nearly a quarter of 12th grade boys (23 percent) smoke cigars, compared to 19.6 percent who smoke cigarettes. (Note: We’ll have more about smokeless tobacco in a later blog post.)


“Kids may be particularly vulnerable to trying e-cigarettes due to an abundance of fun flavors such as cherry, vanilla, pina-colada and berry.”

If that quote sounds like something a public health organization said (and many of us have expressed such concerns), think again.  This particular quote is from the so-called “youth smoking prevention” web site of tobacco giant Lorillard, manufacturer of blu eCigs, the best-selling e-cigarette brand.

PRESS RELEASE | Jun 3, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler on Monday issued a final order detailing how major U.S. cigarette manufacturers must publish “corrective statements” and finally tell the American people the truth about their deadly and addictive products. Judge Kessler first ordered the corrective statements in 2006 when she found the cigarette companies guilty of violating civil racketeering laws and lying to the public about the dangers of smoking and their marketing to children.

PRESS RELEASE | Jun 2, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC – Youth exposure to television ads for electronic cigarettes increased by 256 percent from 2011 to 2013, exposing 24 million U.S. kids to these ads, according to a study published today in the journal Pediatrics. The researchers predicted that “if current trends in e-cigarette television advertising continue, awareness and use of e-cigarettes are likely to increase among youth and young adults.”


Cigarettes and electronic cigarettes aren’t the only tobacco products being heavily advertised in magazines with large youth readerships.

So are smokeless tobacco products, especially now that the Skoal brand is again advertising in magazines for the first time since February 2009, according to the Trinkets & Trash website, which tracks tobacco advertising.


Tobacco companies claim they have smokers' interests at heart when they oppose tobacco tax increases. But they are all too willing to exploit smokers for their own financial gains, as shown by a USA TODAY story this week.

USA TODAY reviewed companies in the Standard and Poor's 500 and found that three tobacco giants — Philip Morris International, Altria and Lorillard — are among the top 10 with the biggest profit margins, a measure of how much companies keep of every dollar in revenue after paying expenses. The three tobacco companies all have profit margins of over 40 percent.


Manufacturers of electronic cigarettes keep saying they don’t market to kids. They claim their target audience is current smokers. So how, exactly, does a video called “How to Twerk: A helpful how-to for would-be booty-shakers” fit into that strategy?

The latest addition to blu e-cigarettes’ YouTube page – and to their website – features entertainer Big Freedia teaching cheering young adults how to shake their stuff. The twerking dance craze became nationally notorious thanks to Miley Cyrus’ performance at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards.

PRESS RELEASE | May 14, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC – A startling report issued today by Human Rights Watch details yet another way in which the tobacco industry exploits and harms children: the use of child labor on tobacco farms in the United States.


Youth advocates sent a loud and clear message to Philip Morris International this week: We won’t be Marlboro.

Protesting outside Philip Morris’ annual shareholders’ meeting in New  York City on Wednesday, the youth called on the tobacco giant to stop targeting kids and immediately end its “Be Marlboro” campaign that is running in more than 50 countries.

Inside the meeting, health advocates presented Philip Morris with an open letter demanding an end to this ad campaign for best-selling Marlboro cigarettes.  It was signed by over 250 civil society organizations and representatives of more than 25 governments.

PRESS RELEASE | May 7, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC – Tobacco companies are using the same flavor chemicals in their sweet-flavored tobacco products, including cigars of various sizes and smokeless tobacco, that are used in popular candy and drink products such as LifeSavers, Jolly Ranchers and Kool-Aid, according to research published today in The New England Journal of Medicine. The researchers found that several of the tobacco products contained flavor chemicals at much higher concentrations than in the non-tobacco products.<

PRESS RELEASE | Apr 24, 2014

Washington, D.C. – Three years after first announcing plans to do so, the Food and Drug Administration today has finally issued a proposed rule to begin regulating electronic cigarettes, cigars and other tobacco products not currently under its jurisdiction.

This action is long overdue. It is a critical step for public health that the FDA has acted to extend its jurisdiction over tobacco products not already subject to its authority and proposed a regulatory framework for these products, including a prohibition on sales to kids, that will enable the FDA to take strong action in the future to protect the nation’s health. It is inexcusable that it has taken the FDA and the Administration so long to act. This delay has had serious public health consequences as these unregulated tobacco products have been marketed using tactics and sweet flavors that appeal to kids, and their use has skyrocketed.


What is “greenwashing?” It’s a deceptive marketing practice in which a company attempts to make itself or its products appear environmentally-friendly in order to distract from an undesirable aspect of its business.

On Earth Day, you need look no further than the Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company, a subsidiary of Reynolds American, and its Natural American Spirit cigarettes for a particularly deplorable example of this strategy.

PRESS RELEASE | Apr 14, 2014

Washington, D.C. – An investigative report released today by 11 members of Congress provides some of the most detailed evidence to date that electronic cigarettes manufacturers are using the same slick marketing tactics long used to market regular cigarettes to kids. These tactics include TV and radio ads that reach youth audiences; sponsorships and free samples at youth-oriented events such as auto races and music festivals; celebrity spokespeople who depict e-cigarette smoking as glamorous; and sweet, kid-friendly flavors with names like Cherry Crush, Chocolate Treat, Peachy Keen and Grape Mint. The report finds that many e-cigarette companies also use social media to promote their products and have widely varying policies regarding sales to minors, with one company reporting that that it does not have any policy barring sales to minors.

PRESS RELEASE | Apr 3, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC – E-cigarettes, and liquid refill containers featuring bright colors, sweet-smelling flavors and dangerous doses of nicotine, are generating rising numbers of emergency calls to poison control centers around the nation, according to a study published today by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The study demonstrates the urgent need for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to assert authority over e-Cigarettes and other tobacco products.

PRESS RELEASE | Mar 28, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC — Thirty-three leading public health and medical organizations are urging the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to make it a priority to regulate how cigarettes are manufactured and stop tobacco industry practices that have made cigarettes even more deadly and addictive than they were 50 years ago.

In a letter sent this week to Mitchell Zeller, Director of the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products, the health groups urged the FDA to take action in response to the new Surgeon General’s Report, The Health Consequences of Smoking — 50 Years of Progress, released in January.


Across the United States, poison control centers are reporting a soaring number of accidental poisonings related to the nicotine liquid used in electronic cigarettes.  These reports have spurred a growing call for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to finally regulate these products, including from newspaper editorials and U.S. senators.

PRESS RELEASE | Mar 12, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC — A coalition of international public health organizations today called on Philip Morris International (PMI) to end a global marketing campaign for its best-selling Marlboro cigarettes that has been found by a German court to target youth and has generated similar complaints in other countries. The organizations issued a new report detailing how the "Be Marlboro" campaign, which has spread to more than 50 countries, uses themes and images that appeal to youth.


Manufacturers of electronic cigarettes have repeatedly claimed they don’t market to kids. But their actions tell a different story.

In the latest example, Lorillard Inc. has placed an ad for its best-selling blu eCigs in the just-published swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated, no doubt one of the favorite magazines of teenage boys.  The ad features the blu logo front and center on the skimpy bikini bottom of a shapely model.  You can even zoom in on it on the online version of the ad.

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