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Connecticut Shouldn’t Welcome Cigarette Giant Philip Morris International – Company’s Products Contribute to 8 Million Deaths Worldwide Each Year

Statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
June 22, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Connecticut leaders should not be welcoming today’s announcement by global cigarette giant Philip Morris International that it is moving its corporate headquarters to their state. They should not fall for Philip Morris’ empty promises that it is committed to a smoke-free future. The reality is that Philip Morris’ main business is to sell deadly and addictive cigarettes, it aggressively markets cigarettes around the world, and it fights policies that would actually reduce smoking and help to create a smoke-free future. How in the world can any public official welcome a company whose main product kills when used as intended and contributes to over 8 million deaths worldwide each year?

It is especially troubling that this announcement comes just days after the Connecticut Legislature protected the tobacco industry’s interests at the expense of the state’s kids by scuttling a bill to end the sale of flavored e-cigarettes. To show that they are not beholden to Big Tobacco and are committed to protecting kids and public health, Connecticut leaders should take action at the earliest opportunity to end the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including flavored e-cigarettes and menthol cigarettes. Gov. Ned Lamont today reiterated his support for ending the sale of flavored e-cigarettes, saying “we’re going to try it again as soon as I can.” He should push the Legislature to act at the special session it must hold this fall and ensure the legislation prohibits all flavored tobacco products.

Far from helping to create a smoke-free future, Philip Morris actively promotes and perpetuates the use of cigarettes, the leading cause of preventable death around the world. Here are the facts about Philip Morris International:

  • Philip Morris shipped over 620 billion cigarettes worldwide in 2020 and proudly touts its best-selling Marlboro cigarette brand. Philip Morris continues to introduce new cigarette marketing campaigns and even new cigarette brands that appeal to kids, women and other targeted groups.
  • From 2018 to 2020, about 80% of Philip Morris’ revenues came from cigarettes, according to the company’s annual reports.
  • Philip Morris aggressively fights policies that actually reduce cigarette smoking, such as higher tobacco taxes, graphic warnings on cigarette packs and bans on tobacco advertising.

If Philip Morris were serious about creating a smoke-free future, it would immediately stop marketing and selling cigarettes and actively support the policies to reduce smoking that are endorsed by the public health community and an international treaty, the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Philip Morris has done the exact opposite. Instead of supporting real change, Philip Morris is spending huge sums on a PR campaign to deceive the public and policy makers, create the illusion of change, and preserve its cigarette sales and profits for as long as possible.

The 200 corporate jobs promised by Philip Morris International pale in comparison to the 4,900 Connecticut residents who die each year from smoking and the 56,000 Connecticut kids alive today who will ultimately die prematurely from smoking. That’s in addition to the millions sickened and killed worldwide by Philip Morris’ products each year. Far from helping to create a thriving business climate, Philip Morris International is in the business of selling products that addict, sicken and kill. They should not be welcomed anywhere.