U.S. Press Release
100+ Youth to Demonstrate at Altria/Philip Morris Annual Meeting; Call to 'Quarantine' Company
EAST HANOVER, N.J., April 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Governments must effectively quarantine Altria/Philip Morris, the world's largest multinational tobacco company, by passing legislation to stop the spread of the global tobacco pandemic.
That's the message of more than 100 youth and adult tobacco control advocates from 13 states who will hold a colorful demonstration outside the Altria shareholders' meeting in New Jersey (April 26) and company headquarters in New York City (April 27) in a show of global solidarity against the tobacco industry.
Philip Morris's parent company has recently spun off its Kraft affiliate, and there is widespread speculation that Philip Morris International and Philip Morris USA will separate soon.
"The proposed breakup of Philip Morris poses the risk that Philip Morris International will become even more effective at spreading its toxic product," says Anna White of the corporate accountability group Essential Action, "An independent Philip Morris International, which is likely to be based in Switzerland, will no longer feel constrained by public opinion, or the possibility of domestic regulation or litigation, in its home country and most important market, the United States."
"Ever since Philip Morris took over one of Indonesia's biggest tobacco companies, tobacco-sponsored events have increasingly and disturbingly taken place," says Dina Kania, a youth activist from Indonesia who reports regularly seeing many young smokers and children as young as five in attendance at these events.
"Philip Morris continues, with virtual impunity, to spread poison in 160 countries around the world. This is corporate social irresponsibility of the highest order," says Nikki Palmieri, a former Miss Connecticut and tobacco control advocate.
150 public health organizations in 65 countries have endorsed a call on governments to adopt comprehensive tobacco control measures to ensure that the separation of Philip Morris International and Philip Morris USA does not worsen the tobacco pandemic. A list of their demands is available at http://www.philipmorrisbreakup.org/calltogovs
For examples of what Philip Morris International is up to around the world, including in Indonesia, go to: http://www.philipmorrisbreakup.org/worldtour
For more information, including a list of organizations involved, go to: http://www.takingontobacco.org/event/altria07
Source: Essential Action