Philip Morris, Altria Healthcare Reach Agreement on Tobacco Company’s to Plan to Change Its Name to Altria
Altria Healthcare Corp., an Alabama medical services company, and tobacco company Philip Morris Cos. on Monday settled their disagreement over Philip Morris' plan to change its name to Altria, the AP/Knoxville News-Sentinel reports. Although the terms of the agreement were not disclosed, the settlement paves the way for the name change to occur, the AP/News-Sentinel reports (Niesse, AP/Knoxville News-Sentinel, 4/23). Philip Morris shareholders voted yesterday at the company's annual meeting to approve the new name (Buettner, AP/Nando Times, 4/25). Philip Morris spokesperson Dave Tovar said the vote "doesn't mean the name change will take effect immediately. When it's the right time, we will launch a new name" (AP/Knoxville News-Sentinel, 4/23).
In related news, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and other organizations are running advertisements this week in newspapers nationwide criticizing Philip Morris' proposed name change. The full-page ad features a large picture of a snake and reads, "No matter how often a snake sheds its skin ... It's still a snake. Altria is Philip Morris." The ad directs readers to a Web page, www.PhilipMorrisCantHide.org (ad text, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 4/25). The site allows users to send a fax to President Bush urging him to "aggressively pursue" the federal government's lawsuit against the tobacco industry. The ad campaign is sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association and the American Lung Association (Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids release, 4/23).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.