Philip Morris Places 17-Page Position Booklets in Major Newspapers
Philip Morris this week placed 17-page booklets in several major newspapers nationwide that outline the company's positions on smoking risks and smoking-related policies, the AP/Nando Times reports. The booklets, which Philip Morris placed in the Washington Post, the New York Times, USA Today and other newspapers, direct readers to the company's redesigned Web site for information on tobacco risks and teenage smoking prevention (AP/Nando Times, 11/13). In addition, the site includes information on smoking cessation, cigarette ingredients and other issues (Philip Morris booklet text). The booklets will reach as many as 16 million readers nationwide. Anti-smoking advocates said that Philip Morris distributed the booklets to "sway newly elected lawmakers" on several issues, such as FDA regulation of tobacco products. Philip Morris contributed $3.1 million to congressional candidates and political parties in the 2002 election cycle. According to Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids Director Matthew Myers, Philip Morris hopes that the booklets will "make it socially acceptable to be on their side ... even while their core marketing practices haven't changed" (AP/Nando Times, 11/13). Officials from the American Heart Association, American Lung Association and Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids said in a statement, "If Philip Morris is serious about being a responsible company, it will end its marketing practices that addict kids in the United States and around the world, stop opposing effective measures to reduce tobacco use, and join the public health community in supporting legislation before Congress to grant the FDA real, effective authority over tobacco products" (AHA/ALA/CTFK release, 11/13). Philip Morris Vice President Ellen Merlo would not disclose the cost of the booklets and said that they had "no connection" to the Nov. 5 election (AP/Nando Times, 11/13).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.