Statement prepared by Keltie Vance, organizer at Corporate Accountability to be delivered at the Philip Morris International Shareholders’ Meeting on May 1, 2019.
“Good morning, my name is Keltie Vance, I’m an organizer with Corporate Accountability representing hundreds of thousands of our members globally.
My question is related to the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World.
The Foundation is just the latest in a long line of empty promises and flashy PR initiatives designed to distract people and governments from the truth: Philip Morris International’s bread and butter is marketing and selling tobacco, a deadly product that claims millions of lives every year. Your company is trying to normalize the harms of tobacco use through its corporate social responsibility programs, promoting new tobacco products like iQOS.
But a “smoke-free” veil can’t hide that Big Tobacco is still the same industry…one that’s determined to addict a whole new generation of people to its new generation of products. And the only way it can do that is if it interferes in the powerful policymaking happening all over the globe. The good news is that the global public health community is seeing through the “smoke-free” smoke.
Global public health institutions like the World Health Organization have warned against partnering with this foundation, calling it a quote snake in the grass. Johns Hopkins University and Harvard School of Public Health joined over a dozen higher education and public health institutions to reject funding from the Foundation and encouraged their peers to do the same. These rejections have garnered media attention worldwide.
And, as of Monday 10,000 have demanded your corporation shut down this PMI-funded Foundation. Philip Morris International has profited off of the deadliest preventable epidemic on the planet and is now positioning itself as the solution to the problem it and the rest of the industry have driven in the first place.
Given your corporation’s claims to be independent from the Foundation for a Smoke-free World, will Philip Morris International release its correspondence with and notes of discussions regarding the establishment of the foundation and commit to doing so on an ongoing basis?”