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Big Tobacco - time to tell Australians the truth

Media Release

Date: 15 October 2017

Leading public health organisations and experts are calling on international tobacco companies to
provide the Australian public with the same truthful health information that they will shortly
provide for the American public through court-ordered corrective advertising.

Following 11 years of delays, major US tobacco companies including Altria, its Philip Morris USA
subsidiary, and R. J. Reynolds (now owned by British American Tobacco) will finally have to tell the
truth about their lethal products.

Tobacco companies have been forced by court-orders to run advertisements on the lethal nature
of tobacco and related issues such as the adverse health effects of smoking, the addictiveness of
smoking and nicotine, lack of health benefits from products marketed as being less harmful than
regular cigarettes, the true harms of secondhand smoke, and the record of cigarette companies in
intentionally designing cigarettes to make them more addictive.

This follows landmark legal action in the US and a judgement that the companies had violated civil
racketeering laws and lied for decades about the health effects of smoking and marketing to
children.

CEO of the Public Health Association Michael Moore, who is also President of the World
Federation of Public Health Associations, said, “We have written to the Board Chairs of the British
American Tobacco and Philip Morris International companies, which have over 70% of the
Australian market. We have called on them to come clean with Australians, as they are doing in
the US. Tobacco companies have lied and misled here for decades, exactly as they have done in
America. They have promoted products designed to be addictive. And they are still targeting the
young as well as low and middle income countries. Australian consumers, and those around the
world, are entitled to the same level of information as Americans.”

Maurice Swanson, President of the Australian Council on Smoking and Health said, “International
business consultants McKinsey have confirmed that the personal, social and economic costs of
tobacco globally are even greater than the impact of armed violence, war, and terrorism. The
tobacco industry must be held accountable for the harm it causes here in Australia as well as in
the US.”

Professor Mike Daube, Professor of Health Policy at Curtin University said, “The tobacco industry
has at last been forced to tell the truth in the US after decades of lies and deception. But here as
elsewhere, they still fiercely oppose action that will reduce smoking and promote approaches to
distract from measures that work. We call on this most lethal of industries to tell the truth to the
Australian public about the massive toll of death and disease caused by smoking, and its record of
manipulating everything from marketing to the product itself. Here as in the US, they have lied for
too long.”

Professor Simon Chapman Emeritus Professor of Public Health at Sydney University said, “Tobacco
companies love telling us what responsible corporate citizens they are. Here’s a golden
opportunity for them to put their money where their mouth is. True contrition always involves
publicly attempting to make good the harm done, so a year’s worth of corrective advertising on
prime time TV would be as appropriate here as it is in the USA.”

A summary of the “Agreement Reached on Implementing Corrective Statements in U.S.
Government Lawsuit October 04, 2017” may be found at the following link.
https://www.tobaccofreekids.org/press-releases/2017_10_04_corrective

Similarly, the corrective texts themselves from Text of Court-Ordered Corrective Statements:
United States v. Philip Morris USA Inc. may be found at this link.
https://www.tobaccofreekids.org/assets/content/what_we_do/industry_watch/doj/corrective_statements/2017_10_corrective_statements.pdf

Attached:
Copy of letters to:
– Phillip Morris
– British American Tobacco

For further information/comment:
– Michael Moore, CEO Public Health Association of Australia 0417 249 731
– Maurice Swanson, President of the Australian Council on Smoking and Health 0401 090 915
– Professor Mike Daube, Professor of Health Policy at Curtin University 0409 933 933
– Professor Simon Chapman, Emeritus Professor of Public Health at Sydney University 0438 340 304

Click Here to download the media release 

 

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