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Action Against Access -- "Underage Sale Prohibited"
When Philip Morris announced its Action Against Access program on June 27, we
did so with the ftrm belief that the best way to keep cigarettes away from kids is to
keep kids away from cigarettes. Cl, ur main objective in launching Action Against
Access was to create a marketplace environment where kids cannot buy cigarettes.
The new labeling on our packs and cartons, "Underage Sale Prohibited,"
demonstrates our commitment to clearly communicate and reinforce the fact that we
do not want minors to have access to our cigarettes. The notice reinforces that
message at retail where purchases are made.
Philip Morris U.S.A. is also funding a major retail compliance training program
called, "Ask First/It's The Law," which will help retailers and their employees to ask
for and verify proof of age for the purchase of cigarettes.
Philip Morris is committed to taking a leadership role in working with others,
including retailers and state policy makers, to pursue a number of voluntary and
reasonable legislative initiatives to reduce youth access to cigarettes.
Philip Morris cannot accomplish all of our ambitious goals alone. But Action Against
Access is our commitment to do what we can, on our own, as well as by working with
others to achieve the goals of the initiative -- a marketplace where kids cannot have
access to cigarettes. We believe Action Against Access represents a rational,
effective approach to a critical issue -- how to prevent minors from smoking -- and we
believe reasonable people will agree with us.
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Now that the recall is over, our investigation into the cause of the defective filters
has revealed that the taste and odor problem was the only real issue. Concerns
about the presence of MITC should never have been an issue.
The taste/odor problem was attributable to a single batch of impure plasticizer
provided to us by a single supplier. We have since replaced that plasticizer with
product made by another supplier. All Philip Morris product currently on the
market meets our quality standards.
We now know that we acted prematurely, but based on the best information
available to us at the time, in linking the very small amounts of MITC found in
our filters with the impure plasticizer. We have since learned that there is no
linkage between the two. After extensive research both internally and externally
by independent toxicologists, we now know that trace levels of MITC exist in
paperboard packaging, and can be found only, if at all, in very small trace
amounts in our filters. MITC is a natural breakdown product of thione, a
commonly-used, FDA-approved packaging preserva.tive used in the process of
manufacturing paperboard packaging. This packaging is used by all U.S.
cigarette manufacturers and several foreign manufacturers, as well as for the
packaging of food, personal hygiene items, household items and over the
counter pharmaceutical products.
There is not, and never was, a safety problem with the trace amounts of MITC
found in our filters. In fact, independent toxicologists say that the traces of
MITC that may be present in our filters are hundreds of times below what they
would have to be to cause the adverse reactions that we described when we
initiated the recall. Clearly, we erred on the side of caution.
Furthermore, our paperboard supplier, Westvaco, has discontinued using thione
and substituted another FDA-approved preservative to eliminate any possible
Based on the limited information we had at the time, we acted out of an
abundance of caution in an effort to be as prompt and thorough as possible. In
fact, if we knew then what we know now, we would have recalled our product
on the taste/odor issue alone because of the importance we place on the quality
of our products. We can now say with confidence that the trace amounts of
MITC that were and are found in some of our filters do not present any safety
concern whatsoever for our consumers.
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draft messages 10/6/94
"WHERE WE STAND" CAMPAIGN
Our most recent experiences with issue-related advertising, in the spring and summer
of 1994, led us to believe that opinion leaders, the public and our customers are willing
to listen to our point of view. They responded to those ads, and we are encouraging
similar response by offering a free booklet, Smoking Issues, through a toll-free number
listed in each ad.
We also learned that for our positions to be most clearly stated and understood,
advertisements, such as those in this campaign, were the most effective route to take.
The subjects and the positions articulated in the ads are not new. I want to reiterate
that: these are not new positions; we are not announcing that we have changed or
modified our positions on these key tobacco-related issues. What is new is that the
public will be able to read our positions, without interpretation by others.
Frankly, if we didn't believe so strongly in the positions stated in each of the ads you
have been supplied -- some of which may not run for several months -- we would not
have prepared them this far in advance. As I stated before, these are not new
positions. We have advocated these very reasonable positions for a long time, and will
in the future.
This campaign punctuates a central point made by our most senior management
several months ago when we announced the ad campaign featuring the article in
Forbes Media Critic by Jacob Sullum on ETS. Bill Murry and GeoffBible said they
believed it important to state our position on issues important to this company, and
that there would, from time to time, be additional advertising campaigns to clearly
state Philip Morris' positions. PM USA president Bill Campbell feels exactly the same
way, and it was he who authorized this sizable commitment to getting our messages
out to the public.
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dra~ messages 10/6/94
The positions we are advocating in these ads are those we at Philip Morris believe in
very strongly. They are truly "Where We Stand." And that's what makes these very
different in their composition from those currently running by RJ Reynolds. Though
there may be some overlap in the subject matter of the ads, we are stating where we
stand on the issues, while they seem to be depicting how mainstream America feels
about the issues. We do not see ourselves in conflict on these issues, however. It is
more a matter of approach and articulation.
We have committed to unfold this campaign over the next six months. The format we
have chosen (headline, art, copy) allows us to present additional issues with continuity.
As with any advertising program, we will make a determination later whether to
extend it beyond next spring.