Philip Morris preemptive strategies

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

Problem: The Increase of Consumption Restrictions Worldwide

This 29-page Philip Morris (PM) corproate strategy document outlines the company's assessment of the spread of smoking restrictions worldwide, and sums up what these measures mean to the company's long-term viability. The report lays out the company's strategies to fight smoking restrictions globally.

PM complains that workplace smoking restrictions are effective at reducing consumption of tobacco:


  • Bans/Restrictions affect consumption:
  • 20% quit rate w/ U.S. workplace bans.

Regarding opposition from governments and public health authorities on the issue of secondhand smoke, PM says:

This is a formidable, worldwide adversary...Unless restrictions are stayed, business operations will be irreversibly, negatively impacted...It could be over unless we reach the media...Unless we act, the regulators will win.

PM summarizes its company strategies, many of which are being used today by both PM and other industries:

  • Change/Damage control of public perception [of the company].
  • Develop Proactive legislative/Regulatory agendas (Throw bombs).
  • Re-shift the debate (i.e., [indoor air quality] bans = intolerance...
  • Increase/nurture third party allies...
  • Find/Develop new themes (i.e., humorous, tolerance, etc.)

One particular strategy on PM's list was to "Develop/communicate the real situation on risks [of secondhand smoke] relative to children." The company's pursuit of this strategy was documented in the March 7, 2005 issue of the journal Pediatrics. The journal revealed that Philip Morris commissioned an article that was published in a respected pediatric epidemiology journal in 2001 that discounted the significance of research showing a link between exposure to secondhand cigarette smoke and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). The article was subsequently cited in at least 19 other scientific papers, misleading physicians, their patients and researchers about the risk to babies of secondhand smoke exposure. The full article in Pediatrics about PM's activities on this count can be seen at

Document Date 19940000/E
Bates Number 2045655906/5934
Collection Philip Morris
Pages 29

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