The Philip Morris Initiative

I don’t think that I have commented upon this subject directly, other than to say that Siegel has claimed that it is all a scam:

He said that he refused to be a consultant, but it is not clear that he was personally invited. Perhaps he was, but it seems that lots of emails were sent out to persons who might be interested in contributing to the initiative, so he could have just ignored it.

Since then, it seems that PM has designed cig packets which tell smokers that they should stop smoking and change over to ‘heat-not-burn’. Canadian cig packets carry such a message, it seems. Dick Puddlecote has covered the story:

I like Dick’s ‘cat among the pigeons’ analogy.

Of course, Siegel might well be right, although ‘scam’ might be too harsh a word. I should imagine that PM is clever enough to to have noticed that their attempts to defend themselves in court have not been very successful. People like Siegel, despite being very clever, cannot see beyond their academic prejudices. Do they really think that executives of a tobacco company can just wreck the company? There are millions of shareholders, including pension funds, to whom the executives are accountable. They are not accountable to Siegel et al.

Is there something wrong with a Tobcom suggesting to its consumers that they might like to try HbN products rather than combustibles?

But there is another idea in my mind. In the US, Tobcoms have been instructed by a court to issue ‘corrective statements’. Here are some of the ‘corrective statements’ which seem to be actually going out on American TV etc:

This Department of Justice site might also be worth reading, if you are interested:

It would not be beyond the pail to suggest that Tobcoms have been trying to figure out how they can take reasonable steps to avoid similar legislation elsewhere in the world, and to protect their businesses (of providing tobacco product to consumers who want them). By admitting that smoking is dangerous, they are, in effect, issuing ‘corrective statements’. The admission that smoking is dangerous overturns all the accusations of misleading the public. It is a very clever way to get TobCON off their backs.

So, in a way, Siegel et al are right, but it is not a ‘scam’.

The reason that it is not a ‘scam’ is that legislatures have recognised that Tobcoms have a right to exist. Some academic nutters have said that Tobcoms should voluntarily stop producing cigs because cigs are so very, very, very dangerous. In other words, that they should voluntarily shut themselves down. The Zealots never say how shareholders could be persuaded to render their holdings worthless.  I doubt that a person with £100,000 or a pension fund with £10,000,000 investing in Tobcom shares would vote to shut the company down. No – only Government prohibition could do that – which has been tried and failed. So, it is reasonable for Tobcoms to come up with a solution to the danger threat.

TobCON has been hoist by its own petard. And, as a result of its own collective rigidity (quit or die), it is hardly possible for it to change directions. People enjoy smoking in itself, and also enjoy the effects of nicotine. The first thing that I do in a morning, after lighting a cig, is to make a mug of tea – nicotine plus caffeine. What is wrong with that?

But, to make things worse for TobCON, the new Director General of the WHO has openly declared that the WHO is at war with Tobcoms:

Can you see how hide-bound that attitude is? It does not allow for any compromise at all. And yet Tobcoms have a right to exist. The WHO’s Director General wants to pursue an illegal war. He wants to destroy an entity which has a right to exist.

It is all very weird.

So what is the missing piece in the jigsaw which might make sense of the situation? It is the voice of consumers.

The absence of that voice is what permits the contradiction.

What do I, as a smoker want? I want to enjoy tobacco as I see fit because I am an adult can make my own decisions about what is best for me. If I am ‘addicted’ to tobacco, it is because I want to be. That is my decision. It follows therefore that I regard tobacco taxes as fraud, and I shall do my best to avoid them.

I see that as a matter of principle, although I would not offer myself up as a sacrifice to political correctness.

But I also see ‘criminal importers’ as heroes, which is a wholly different idea. It is a sad reflection on our system of Government that it can be the equivalent of a pickpocket, nicking the monies of smokers with abandon, whilst pretending that smokers cannot help themselves because they are addicted.

So where are the academics calling into question the activities of the WHO etc? And that is another problem. ASH, a lobby group, is funded by taxpayers to support the theft of smokers’ monies, whereas any organisation which opposes ASH is not so funded.

Can smokers fight back?

It is a pity that Tobcoms failed to understand that millions of consumers were more influential than legal processes. Legal processes produce ‘corrective statements’; consumers sack politicians.

15 Responses to “The Philip Morris Initiative”

  1. Rose Says:

    Philip Morris, which curiously enough, never turns up in my research, seems to have gone for a “if you can’t beat them, join them” approach.

    Godber’s secondhand smoke theory suggesting harm to others, is what transformed a small bunch of zealots into the towering edifice that is TC today.

    Philip Morris, presumably having given up on science, reason and the law, all of which have failed to put them back in their box, appears to be attempting to cut them off at the legs by going along with the propaganda and getting rid of this phantom menace that seems to get more deadly every day, by getting rid of the smoke with HnB.

    No wonder Dr Siegel doesn’t like it, secondhand smoke seems to be the rock on which he built his career.

    • junican Says:

      SHS was (and still is) a weapon – a kind of torpedo. It was designed to strike below the water line. The joke is that the torpedo never actually existed! The fear of it was enough.

  2. Timothy Goodacre Says:

    I wish Junican that tobacco companies would have more consideration for those of us who enjoy smoking cigarettes and the aroma of burning tobacco. We will not be bounced into vaping or heat not burn. If these companies abandon us there will emerge small companies who will spot a gap in the market. In Europe there are still a number of companies in Germany, Belgium, Holland, and Greece making excellent cigarettes and tobacco in addituon to our own superb Gawith Hoggarth.

    • junican Says:

      I am not as knowledgeable as you, Tim. I ‘fabricated’ some cigs this evening from Pueblo tobacco which I bought in Mallorca. That is about the extent of my adventures.
      I have a completely open mind about HnB. Adults can decide for themselves.

  3. Pat Nurse Says:

    Seigel is smokerphobic. If he thinks hnb is a bad thing, it must be good. Good for Philip Morris. It is about time the fight was taken to the thugs and bullies in tobacco control. Personally, I will look to buy tobacco from another company when PMI stops selling cigarettes simply because I will not be coerced, bullied or pushed around. If I ever decide to quit or switch that will be my choice and not one forced upon me by big vape, big tobacco or big Tobacco control. They all appear to be in it together these days and the only thing any of them want from smokers like me is money.

    • junican Says:

      I think that Siegel is just as determined to destroy Tobcoms as his mentor and hero, Glantz. He is a very, very clever dunce. He is a dunce because he has never questioned the received wisdom that smoking is very dangerous. The idea that it might not be so has never entered his mind.

  4. Tonyh Says:

    I think PMI’s actions are the result of the MSA. I’ve inflicted a very long comment on Frank’s blog today. I’ll copy it here if you like 🙂

  5. Smoking Lamp Says:

    More conformation that tobacco control is about profit and plunder and certainly not about health. The only recourse is to keep exposing the lies and resisting at every opportunity.

  6. Tony Says:

    Re-posting as suggested.

    I think the key to Phillip Morris’s actions is the MSA(1998) and to a lesser extent RICO(2006). I posted this comment here a few years ago so I hope you don’t mind my repeating it. Sorry about the length.
    I have no special inside knowledge on this but my understanding follows here:

    First of, the ‘Master Settlement Agreement’ (MSA). This was not a court case as such but an agreement, and an extremely corrupt one at that, between the biggest 4 US tobacco companies and the Atourneys General of 46 American States. The other states made similar arrangements. In gross violation of the American constitution BTW.


    Many senior tobacco executives were forced to give evidence in court prior to the mid 1990s and they all followed the company line saying that: ‘they did not believe that smoking had been shown to cause lung cancer’. The anti-smokers lost all of these cases although some were won initially and then overturned on appeal.

    However many of the executives would have had little or no knowledge of the science and indeed may have been fairly recently head hunted from a completely different company. Hence they tended to believe the propaganda and occasionally said so in private internal memos.

    Then, in the 1990s, BATs archive became public. Apparently thousands of documents were stolen and passed to the anti-smokers. A court case ruled that they had therefore entered the public domain and so could be used as evidence in court. The stolen documents contained some of these private memos which proved that the executives had lied about their belief in court.

    The MSA:
    By entering the MSA, they were able to protect themselves from the charge of perjury.
    Specifically, they gained immunity from prosecution and did not have to pay any fines or damages at all. In return, they arranged for the companies that they worked for (basically ran) to agree with everything that the anti-smokers claimed. And for the companies to pay vast sums of money into State coffers, ostensibly to pay for medical costs (non-existent) and anti-smoking crusades (considerable). Several hundred BILLION dollars.

    They were also able to force current and potential rivals to pay too. This meant that the entire cost could and was, passed on directly to their customers. No impact on company profit or stock market value.

    As most people here are already aware, there weren’t really any suppressed tobacco company science documents. The internal memos were the only secret information that the anti-smokers found.

    RICO was basically window dressing that followed on from the MSA. No fines or other penalties were levied, presumably because immunity had already been agreed. But getting a RICO conviction was great PR for the anti-smokers.

    So basically they threw their customers under the bus back in 1998. MSA payments are entirely dependent on market share so the loss of cigarette sales would not hurt them much. At a wild guess, they might even qualify for a refund.

    For years, The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) have been, on and off, fighting to get the corrupt MSA overturned. I suspect that the problem is that it is too big to fail. The latest news I can find is a refusal, in 2011, of the Supreme Court to allow legal action.
    Lots more information here

  7. Vaping In The News – January 13th 2018 | Vaping Links And More Says:

    […] The Philip Morris Initiative […]

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