Message to Countries Worldwide: Stop… | Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
sign up

Message to Countries Worldwide: Stop Marlboro

June 26, 2015

Youth leaders deliver the Stop Marlboro petition to members of the House of Representatives of the Philippines.

Around the world, health advocates are fighting back against the latest youth-oriented marketing campaign for Marlboro cigarettes – and calling on governments to stop Marlboro once and for all.

For decades, the iconic Marlboro Man made Marlboro the most popular cigarette brand among youth – fueling a global epidemic that will kill one billion people this century if current trends continue.

With the cancer-causing cowboy out to pasture, a new campaign is picking up right where the Marlboro Man left off and makes smoking seem like an exciting choice for young people. The new campaign – “Don’t be a Maybe. Be Marlboro.” – has boosted Marlboro’s global sales through advertising filled with teen-enticing images of sex, partying and risky behavior. It’s spread to over 60 countries.

Although Marlboro’s maker, Philip Morris International, claims “Be Marlboro” doesn’t target teens, the global community isn’t buying the public relations spin.

Ahead of Philip Morris’ annual shareholders meeting in May, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and global health advocates launched Stop Marlboro, a campaign demanding that Philip Morris stop targeting young people.

The response has been incredible. During the last two months, millions of people have learned about Marlboro’s youth-oriented campaign; nearly 150,000 participated in the #StopMarlboro social media campaign; and almost 65,000 people from 94 countries signed our petition calling on countries to stop Marlboro’s dangerous marketing tactics.

Seizing on the growing outcry, health and youth advocates around the world are joining the campaign to demand bans on tobacco advertising:

  • In India, the Philippines and Georgia, advocates delivered Stop Marlboro petition signatures to key government officials and urged comprehensive tobacco ad bans.
  • In Senegal, advocates used World No Tobacco Day in May to shine a light on Marlboro’s marketing tactics.
  • In Argentina, advocates filed a complaint with the Ministry of Health, demanding the government investigate Philip Morris International and other tobacco companies for violating the country’s advertising laws.

Philip Morris responded by trying to stifle criticism and cover its tracks, in part by using copyright claims to remove evidence from the Internet.

But Big Tobacco won’t bully us.

Stop Marlboro will continue to call on governments to ban the “Be Marlboro” ad campaign and stop Philip Morris International from using marketing tactics that appeal to kids.

In the coming weeks and months, we expect more advocates will take action to expose Marlboro’s shameful campaign.

Youth advocates rallying outside PMI’s shareholders meeting in New York City on May 6, 2015

Public health and youth advocates delivering the Stop Marlboro petition to government leaders in India on World No Tobacco Day 2015.