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Tobacco company campaign is branded "hypocrisy"

NORTH East health campaigners today labelled an advertising campaign from the world's biggest cigarette company as "unbelievable hypocrisy" and called for tobacco companies to be made to pay for the damage they cause.

 

Fresh says Philip Morris International's "Hold My Light" quit smoking campaign is aimed at boosting sales of products like heated tobacco and promoting its company name.

 

PMI are the makers of Marlboro Cigarettes. Around the world PMI has fought to prevent health warnings on tobacco and stop the standardised plain packaging of cigarettes and lobbied the EU against measures to reduce smoking.

 

Ailsa Rutter OBE, Director of Fresh, said: "PMI should be hanging their heads in shame at this unbelievable hypocrisy. Over 70,000 people in England will die from smoking this year - 15 people a day here in the North East – and yet here is a tobacco company trying to make people believe they want a smokefree future and for smokers to quit.

 

"The tobacco industry is highly profitable and can and should be made to pay for its regulation and for the recurring costs of measures to drive down smoking rates such as anti-smoking mass media campaigns, enforcement activity and smoking cessation treatment. PMI clearly has money to waste by running an advertising campaign like this. It is time the government put a levy on the tobacco companies and made them pay for the damage they cause our local communities.

 

"There will be dozens of children across the country today taking up smoking and buying PMI's cigarettes. If they were serious, they would stop selling tobacco and stop fighting every measure put forward to reduce smoking.

 

"Nowhere in their campaign do they mention the harm or risks of smoking. This seems to be a vehicle to try to promote PMI products such as heated tobacco. Their adverts show a giant cigarette lighter – surely this is going to be a trigger to smokers to light up?

 

"The fact is that PMI is still trying to advertising Marlboro cigarettes wherever they can get away with it. Only in 2013 was their Maybe Marlboro campaign banned in Germany for targeting young people. It is only because this is banned in the UK that they are promoting this campaign."

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