BOSTON – Tomorrow, Philip Morris International Chief Executive Officer André Calantzopoulos will be the keynote speaker at the Boston College Chief Executives Club luncheon. According to Boston College, his speech will focus "on the company’s vision to create a smoke-free future backed by science, technology and innovation to offer less harmful choices to those who would otherwise continue smoking." Public Health advocates are raising the alarm about this visit and calling on elected officials to see through Big Tobacco’s smokescreen.
The following statement can be attributed to Marc Hymovitz, Massachusetts director of government relations for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN):
“There’s no denying it: Philip Morris’ main business is still to sell deadly and addictive cigarettes, and it sells more than 700 billion of them worldwide each year. They accomplish this goal in part by targeting our children with sweet, cheap, and deadly products, including e-cigarettes, cigars, and cigarettes. It’s time to end this trend.
“Every year, Big Tobacco pours over $121 million dollars marketing to kids across the Commonwealth. Nationally, this number tops $9 billion. Philip Morris should be judged by its actions, not its words, and its actions show it is a primary cause of our tobacco epidemic, not part of the solution.
“Massachusetts has been a leader in tobacco control, but thanks to the efforts of tobacco giants like Phillip Morris, the declining trend of youth smoking is stalling out. We need a comprehensive approach to tobacco control aimed at protecting our kids from all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and flavored tobacco products.
“We urge Massachusetts lawmakers not to be swayed by Big Tobacco’s rhetoric and instead, focus their attention on supporting legislation that will protect future generations of kids from being addicted to tobacco and nicotine, including supporting legislation that would prohibit the sale of all flavored tobacco products across Massachusetts, increasing the state’s tobacco tax, and implementing a tax on e-cigarettes.”