Statement prepared by Corinne Jager, organizer at Corporate Accountability to be delivered at the Philip Morris International Shareholders’ Meeting on May 1, 2019.
“I’m Corinne Jager, and I’m here from the public health group Corporate Accountability, representing our members and allies globally.
My question is about how Philip Morris International can promote a smoke-free world while simultaneously expanding it’s cigarette market in the Global South.
It is the “Year of Un-smoke.”And Philip Morris International is seizing opportunities to profit off the growing opposition to cigarettes through making sure claims like “Un-smoke” and “Smoke-Free” are everywhere, including by marketing iQOS. In marketing iQOS, your corporation is skirting regulations and even going as far as violating national tobacco laws.
But even if Philip Morris International’s latest anti-smoking rhetoric were believable, based on its actions in the Global South, it would appear your corporation is not working to end smoking but is in fact doubling down on addiction and death.
Last month, your corporation launched a new cigarette, “Philip Morris Bold,” in Indonesia. And bold it is: this cigarette is a high-tar, high-nicotine clove product—some of the most deadly. Apparently, it’s only the year of Un-smoke in those countries where smoking rates have already started dropping.
And, in Kenya, PMI is reportedly in negotiations to expand by purchasing the country’s second-largest tobacco corporation, Mastermind Tobacco.
Your PR machine may be trying to sell the world a delusion—that you care about public health—but your actions tell the real story: Your corporation will continue selling cigarettes as long as you can turn a profit. You continue to expand your cigarette business in Global South countries where you skirt and undermine laws. And where business is shrinking, you now somehow care about peoples’ health.
So my question for you, Mr. Camillieri, is:
How can Philip Morris International both claim to be focused on ending smoking while at the very same time continue to expand and profit from smoking?”