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[Philip Morris Response to Letter Regarding Irresponsible and Unethical Conduct]

Date: 01 Sep 1993
Length: 4 pages
2047632201-2047632204
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Abstract

Responds to consumer letter that "Philip Morris is irresponsible and unethical because [it is]: "1) promoting cigarette smoking to teenagers through advertising; and 2) undermining the laws and regulations of countries in order to sell cigarettes". Indicates "draft" and is missing pages.

Fields

Company
Philip Morris Cos., Inc.
Type
Letter
Recipient
Tracy, J. Ms.
Named Person
Koop, C.E. Dr.
Miles, M.
Named Organization
Ebony
National Association of Convenience Stores
People
Philip Morris USA
Surgeon General
TV Guide
World Health Organization (Concerned with global public health)
International organization concered with public health worldwide
World Health Organization
Operation/Project
Action Against Access (Voluntary market/ad restrictions)
Frequently referred to in the documents as AAA
Keyword
Tobacco: Helping Youth Say No
Trademarks
Subject
Advertising restrictions
Celebrities
Consumption rates
counter advertising
Industry front groups
industry response
Industry sponsored prevention programs
legislation
lobbying
marketing
Minimum age
National level
Nonsmokers
public relations
Regulations
Retail associations
sales
Sampling
State level
Warning labels
youth
advertising

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Page 1: 2047632201
DRAFT Ms. Jessica Tracy 2627 26th Street, #A Santa Monica, CA 90405 Dear Ms. Tracy: Michael Miles has shared your letter of August 27 with me and asked me to respond. Your letter is exactly the same as others we have reviewed and, therefore, my response is the same. The general thrust of your remarks is that Philip Morris is irresponsible and unethical because, you say, it engages in the following conduct: 1) promoting cigarette smoking to teenagers through advertising, and 2) undermining the laws and regulations of countries in order to sell cigarettes. I hope I am able to persuade you that your conclusions are wrong, or at least not supported by any facts, although I would be less than candid if I said that I am optimistic about my chance of success. Philip Morris does not market or promote cigarette smoking to children, nor do we believe that research regarding cigarette advertising supports the accusation that we do. We believe smoking is an adult custom, and children should not smoke. I recognize that much has been written over the past few years about the effect of cigarette advertising on non-smokers and children. Our advertising is brand-specific and directed to smokers, not to non-smokers, and certainly not to youth. There is no accepted study which concludes that cigarette advertising causes non-smokers to begin smoking, or smokers to continue smoking. In fact, in 1989, Surgeon General Koop stated, in his annual report, "There is no scientifically rigorous study available to the public that provides a definitive answer to the basic
Page 2: 2047632202
question of whether advertising and promotion increases the level of tobacco consumption." Research by various universities, the World Health Organization, and the federal government has revealed that: l) changes in total advertising have little or no effect on consumption; 2) there is no systematic difference between juvenile smoking in countries where advertising is banned and in countries where it is permitted; and 3) those countries which have experienced the sharpest declines in consumption are not those which have banned advertising. We do not allow cigarette samples to be distributed to anyone under age twenty-one. Our samplers are required to ask each potential recipient if they are ~enty-one years of age or older, and if they are currently smokers. People requesting samples through the mail must provide certification that they are smokers and t~enty-one years of age or older. Our contracts for outdoor advertising require that all billboard placements be at least five hundred feet away from schools, playgrounds or youth centers. Although we sponsor several sports and cultural events, we never ask sports figures or entertainers to endorse our cigarettes. We also do not make paid tobacco product placements in movies, and clothing bearing cigarette brand names comes in adult sizes only. To avoid even the appearance that we market to children, Philip Morris has also taken legal action against companies who use our cigarette trademarks in products that appeal to children. In 1991, we launched an extensive advertising campaign to remind manufacturers that we intend to prosecute anyone for use of our cigarette trademarks or logos on children's products.
Page 3: 2047632203
Over the years, we have taken legal action against manufacturers of toys, candies and video games, who have done so. Philip Morris is also using educational programs to discourage children from smoking. We have assisted The Tobacco Institute in providing a free booklet, Tobacco: Helping Youth Say No, to parents, through coupons in national magazines, such as, TV Guide, Ebony, and People. This booklet is designed to help parents teach their children how to recognize and resist peer influence to smoke, which studies show is the most decisive factor in teenage smoking. Retailers do not always obey, or fully understand, the laws involving cigarette sales to minors. To address that problem, Philip Morris-USA, in cooperation with The National Association of Convenience Stores, implemented a program called It's The Law. This program provides point-of-sale brochures, buttons and stickers, to communicate to retailers and customers the legal age limit for cigarette sales in their states. We also actively work to pass laws that set a minimum age for dgarette purchases in all fifty states. We not only support the implementation of such age laws, we support their strict enforcement, as well. We participate in the public and legislative debates on issues that affect Philip Morris, our employees and our shareholders. We do this, in part, through lobbying efforts in Washington, DC, and California. There is nothing wrong with our exercising the rights all companies and individuals have to influence legislation and regulations which affect them. Such activities are in no way irresponsible or unethical. We do the same in other countries, as well, in a perfectly legal and proper
Page 4: 2047632204
way. The example you cite, of attempting to remove the restrictions on the sale and promotion of our cigarettes in foreign markets, is an excellent example of acting within the rules and regulations, in an effort to be treated fairly and equally with local manufacturers. In those instances, we are asking that the same laws which apply to domestic cigarette manufacturers apply to us, and that we not be discriminated against because we are foreign manufacturers. This is a question of basic fairness. Cigarette smoking in Third World countries existed before Philip Morris's products were available in those countries, and would exist independent of Philip Morris's sales in those countries. Philip Morris provides the highest quality of cigarettes in response to existing consumer demands, and promotes the use of its brands by adult smokers. For example, with regard to the use of health warning labels on cigarettes sold abroad, our products sold in foreign markets have always carried the labels required by local authorities. Thus, as of January 1, 1992, ninety per cent of all the company's cigarette packages sold worldwide carried warnings, and that number increased to ninety-six per cent when sales in international duty free shops were excluded. In addition, in 1992, Philip Morris took the lead within the industry worldwide, and adopted a policy to place the U.S. Surgeon General's warnings, or some other appropriate warning, on every Philip Morris cigarette package sold worldwide, where no warning was required under local law. Finally, let me add a word about the health claims made about cigarette smoking. Philip Morris-USA has acknowledged that cigarette smoking is a risk factor for certain human diseases. Philip Morris also believes that adult consumers, all of whom are well aware of the health claims made about cigarette smoking,

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