Exposing Big Tobacco’s rebranding: A déjà vu to fool policymakers and the public
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Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Washington, United States
Publication date: 2020-10-22
Tob. Prev. Cessation 2020;6(Supplement):A68
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In recent years multinational tobacco companies have launched aggressive global public relations strategies aimed at positioning themselves as credible partners in solutions to the global tobacco epidemic they have created in the first place.
This session will review and analyze the different components of tobacco companies’ public relations tactics – including new product marketing, deceptive science, allies and front groups, lobbying, and mass media – to convince policymakers and other key stakeholders that they are concerned with health and are credible partners in policy dialogues.
The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, through its international network of advocacy groups, has collected evidence illustrating the stark contrast between tobacco companies’ misleading calls for a smoke-free future and their continued focus on marketing cigarettes in low- and middle-income countries, particularly to minors.
No matter how many times a snake sheds its skin, it is still a snake!
Of all the major multinational tobacco companies, Philip Morris International (PMI) has been the most active when it comes to recreating its image. PMI’s multipronged strategy includes two particularly visible initiatives: the ‘unsmoke the future’ campaign and the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World.
We will discuss these two initiatives to show that they are nothing more than the latest version of the same tactics that PMI has used for over 60 years to fool policymakers and the public about their true intentions: to continue profiting from tobacco addiction.

What’s next?:
The Campaign will use this opportunity to facilitate a discussion about how public health champions can successfully block PMI and other tobacco companies from interfering in public policy, despite their aggressive rebranding campaign. We will present a global campaign aimed at convincing schools of public health and other institutions to publicly reject partnerships or funding offers from the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World.

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