BOSTON — Today it was reported that Philip Morris International and Altria have confirmed rumors that they were in talks to merge the two tobacco corporations. In 2008, Altria spun off of Philip Morris International as part of an attempt to insulate the brand from the lawsuits and investigations into the corporation’s abusive, dishonest, and deadly operations in the United States. If the merger is successful, the resulting corporation would once again be the world’s largest publicly traded tobacco corporation.
Please see the statement below from Associate Tobacco Campaign Director, Michél Legendre:
“PMI has spent the last year trying to rebrand itself with absurd marketing slogans like the ‘year of Unsmoke’ and laughable investments like its new life insurance company. Now with talk of this merger, it seems PMI may be a bit too convinced by its own marketing.
The public health community has long seen the Altria spinoff for what it was: a move to protect Philip Morris from accountability in the United States for its global abuses. But, with lawsuit after lawsuit popping up in countries around the world, PMI seems to have lost this bet.
The global tobacco treaty has strengthened health protections around the globe and dealt blow after blow to PMI’s deadly operations — both corporations are facing immense liability and scrutiny for their abusive practices. PMI and Altria seem to have arrogantly and incorrectly assumed that the profits the corporations stand to make off of this deal will outweigh the impending costs of the current and future liability cases and investigations.
This merger would not only reunite tobacco operations, it would also bring PMI, Altria, and new investee Juul’s pending lawsuits and investigations under one roof and force PMI to once again answer for its deadly and abusive practices in the United States.”