The Australian Council on Smoking and Health has today condemned a move by Big Tobacco company Philip Morris to take over Vectura, a UK based company that specialises in inhaler technology for the treatment of lung illnesses.
“This is another clear strategy by Philip Morris to shape-shift its corporate image away from a company that contributes to over 8 million preventable deaths each year globally,” said Maurice Swanson, Chief Executive of the Australian Council on Smoking and Health.
“We have here a company that produces and mass markets the world’s most lethal consumer product that causes many serious diseases of the lungs.
“They should not be permitted to diversify into the production of medical devices that treat those very same diseases.
“This would have real implications for Australian doctors and patients who either prescribe or use dry powder inhalers manufactured by Vectura.
“This is part of Philip Morris’ grand plan to present themselves as part of the solution to smoking-caused diseases while at the same time continuing to aggressively market cigarettes to whomever and wherever they can.
“If Philip Morris was serious about reducing the impact of disease and death caused by smoking, they would immediately stop selling cigarettes around the world.
“The attempted purchase of Vectura is yet another business initiative to maintain its profitability.
“The tobacco industry is unrelenting in its constant efforts to recruit new smokers, keep existing smokers addicted, and market new addictive nicotine delivery devices.”
“Big Tobacco has a record going back over 60 years of lying, deception and racketeering. It is the world’s most lethal industry and has been shown to be the world’s least reputable,” said Mr Swanson.
A recent judgement of the British High Court found the tobacco industry to be an industry “which facilitates and furthers, quite deliberately, a health epidemic”.
The Australian Council on Smoking and Health (ACOSH) is an independent, non-government, not for profit coalition established in 1971, and represents a further 35 prominent health and community organisations with a shared concern about smoking and its harmful consequences.
ACOSH has been a leading advocate for all the regulatory and legislative changes to reduce the impact of smoking on the Australian community.