Philip Morris USA and Philip Morris International

Founded : 1881
Primary industry/service : The world's largest tobacco company - sells Marlboro & Virginia Slims cigarettes (among many other brand names).  Also sells Miller beer, Kraft, Post, Nabisco, and Maxwell House foods.
Total Annual Revenue : $74 billion (1998)
Net Annual Revenue : $7.8 billion (second most profitable corporation in the world)   - (1998)
Current CEO : Geoffrey C. Bible
CEO salary : $5.6 million salary plus $19 million in stock options exercised.  (1998)
Philanthropy : $60 million to charities in 1998 (0.7% of net revenue)
Checklist :

The Good
[  ]  one of top 50 best companies for minorities
[  ]  one of top 100 companies for working mothers
[X]  Has a non-discrimination policy that includes sexual orientation

To Be Improved
[X] - sites in non-democratic nations
[ ?] - child labor violations in last five years
[ ?] - environmental violations in last five years

(For this corporation, we are using this category to focus on public health issues)

The product : Tobacco
    There are really no longer any disputes about the negative health effects of tobacco and the fact that smoking tobacco can lead to the loss of life.  But just to reiterate these points from important groups : In response to the fact that their product is causing their customers harm, Philip Morris argues that the decision to smoke is one left to individual adults and that the company is not to blame for smoking-related deaths : "Although it is appropriate for governments and health authorities to encourage people to avoid risky behaviors, we don't believe that they should prohibit adults from choosing to smoke." (Philip Morris website)

Tobacco is not only harmful to the user, but second hand smoke has been shown to have adverse affects as well, especially on children living in a house where one or more parent smokes (about 700 million children, almost half of all children worldwide fit in this category).  According to a June 1999 World Health Organization report entitled International Consultation on Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) and Child Health :
      "Environmental tobacco smoke causes a wide variety of adverse health effects in children, including pneumonia, bronchitis, coughing, wheezing, worsening of asthma and middle-ear infections. Children's exposure to environmental tobacco smoke may also contribute to cardiovascular disease in adulthood."
On their website, Philip Morris writes that the health risks of second-hand smoke are small, but significant.  However, they also write on their website that smokers who have children should seek to minimize their child's exposure to secondhand smoke.

    Nicotine is probably the most controversial and integral part of the tobacco debate.  Nicotine, an ingredient in cigarettes, has been shown to be highly addictive, more so even than heroin or cocaine.  Recent studies by the World Health Organization have shown that "75-80 percent of smokers wish to quit, while 1/3 have made serious cessation attempts."  A 1988 Surgeon General's report stated that cigarettes are addictive and a withdrawal syndrome accompanies cessation. Previously secret internal tobacco industry documents made public in The Minnesota Tobacco Trial reveal that Philip Morris was aware for decades that nicotine was an addictive drug and commonly referred to cigarettes as a delivery device for the drug nicotine. Philip Morris has no comment on the addictive properties of nicotine.


According to its website, Philip Morris is "committed to diversity" and will "actively seek, recruit, and promote qualified employees — including women, people of color and persons with disabilities, making accommodations when reasonably possible. We also actively utilize minority and women-owned businesses and contractors."

Also according to the website, " The operating companies of Philip Morris Companies Inc. have more than 220 manufacturing facilities in 50 countries" which include China and Indonesia among many others.


Philip Morris increased their sales of cigarettes abroad by more than 150% since 1990

Advertising geared toward adolescents
The following are some examples from 1998 according to Global Agression (see references)

In contrast to their advertising techniques, Philip Morris has started youth smoking prevention programs, and have issued several public statements saying that their aim is not to target young people, but that smoking is for adults only.  In a statement from Philip Morris on their website :
We do not want children to smoke; … Ours is much more than a philosophical commitment - we back it up every day with actions and programs in over 50 countries, which are designed to help prevent children from buying cigarettes; to help them not to smoke; to help them understand that smoking is not "cool"; and to help them realize that they should not define themselves by smoking.
The effectiveness and sincerity of these programs is questionable considering that the advertising listed above was documented in 1998 and that most smokers start smoking when they are under the age of 18.  Also, recently released internal documents reveal that adolescents were targeted as potential customers.
"Long after the adolescent preoccupation with self-image has subsided, the cigarette will pre-empt even food in time of scarcity on the smokers' priority list."
    1969, draft report by T.S. Osdene then VP of Research and Development, to the board of directors at Philip Morris
"Marlboro's phenomenal growth rate in the past has been attributable in large part to our high market penetration among young smokers ... 15 to 19 years old . . . my own data, which includes younger teenagers, shows even higher Marlboro market penetration among 15-17-year-olds."  … "The teen-age years are also important because those are the years during which most smokers begin to smoke, the years in which initial brand selections are made, and the period in the life-cycle in which conformity to peer-group norms is greatest"
    1975 report from PM researcher Myron E. Johnston
Lobbying expenditures by Philip Morris

In 1998, Philip Morris spent $23,000,000 in lobbying expenditures with 22% to Democrats and 77% to Republicans according to The Center for Responsive Politics.  It was the second largest spender in this category, second only to British American Tobacco.

In addition, Philip Morris was the leading contributor to parties and candidates in the 1996 presidential election

Organizations working against Philip Morris

The World Health Organization is currently trying to pass initiatives so cigarettes can be regulated like other drugs, with the support of the EPA,

"The tobacco epidemic is a communicated disease. It is communicated through advertising, through the example of smokers and through the smoke to which non-smokers - especially children - are exposed. Our job is to immunize people against this epidemic."
   WHO Director General Dr. Brudntland in a speech entitled "International Policy Conference on Children and Tobacco"
Also the organization INFACT ( has organized a nationwide boycott of Philip Morris's products, with a focus on Kraft foods.

For more information

There is so much information about the practices of Philip Morris and about the tobacco industry in general that this fact sheet contains only a small fraction.  You can find out more information at : For Philip Morris's side of the story, you can look at their website ( as well as :
Some resources used to make this fact sheet
Center for Diseas Control, on-line documentation          The World Health Organization - Tobacco Free Initiative.  Documentation
At                                                               on-line at

"Prying Open the Door to the Tobacco Industry's Secrets About Nicotine"                           Philip Morris 1998 Annual Report
Richard Hurt, MD. Channing Robertson, PhD.  Health Law and Ethics, Oct 7, 1998.           Philip Morris 1996 Annual Report

Global Aggression : INFACT's 1998 People's Annual Report          Philip Morris on-line documentation on dobacco issues which can be
The Apex Press : New York. 1998                                                    located at

This information sheet was last updated  July 14, 2000
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