Courtesy of Choice

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

Courtesy of Choice was an international version of Philip Morris' Accommodation Program designed to defray legislated smoking bans and preserve smoking in public places throughout the world. It was part of PM's Worldwide Accommodation Plan strategy and was implemented through international hospitality associations. The "Courtesy of Choice" program was promoted using the same symbol that PM used to promote its domestic (U.S.) Accommodation Program, namely a "ying yang" symbol.[1]

The objective of the Courtesy of Choice program was to promote self-regulation over "onerous" legislated smoking bans and to help PM develop a network of allies among the hospitality venues, like hotels, restaurants and bars, to help them fight legislated smoking restrictions.[2]

The "Courtesy" theme as a tobacco industry strategy

The industry, and Philip Morris in particular, has used variations on the "courtesy" theme throughout the years to help avoid meaningful regulation of smoking. A few examples:

  • In Italy in 1987, the industry ran a courteous-smoking print ad campaign in four Italian magazines to discourage smoking restrictions in that country (such campaigns are usually in print due to their "thoughtful" nature): [See page -7806]: at page -7806
  • In 1989 an industry-formed smokers' rights club in Denmark called "HEN-RY" was portrayed as a "courteous smokers' club" [1]
  • In 1990, Philip Morris ran "courteous smoking" ads in the Pan European press and received thousands of responses.[2]
  • In 1995 in Europe, PM ran a campaign called "Courtesy and Tolerance" that attempted to generate fear in Europe of the smoking restrictions increasingly being enacted in the United States. [3]
  • Philip Morris' cast its "Accommodation Program (begun in the U.S. in 1993) as a program to encourage and reinforce the "courtesy" of allowing indoor smoking in restaurants and other hospitality venues.

The theme of "courtesy," then, has historically been used to help tobacco companies marginalize public health advocates and portray them as extreme, to undermine smoking restrictions, to boost the industry's credibility and to provide cover for the industry to foment discontent with governments over efforts to regulate smoking.

Related SourceWatch resources


  1. Hotel Association of Canada Update Newsletter. June 18, 1998. Philip Morris Bates No. 2065255006/5007
  2. No author UntitledUndated strategy paper. British American Tobacco Bates No. 500888642-500888647

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