The Philip Morris Genome Project: a guide to tracking alliances of the world´s largest cigarette company
Alan Blum 1  
 
 
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University of Alabama, Center for the Study of Tobacco and Society, United States of America
Publish date: 2018-03-01
 
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A453
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ABSTRACT
Background:
Beginning in the 1980s, tobacco control efforts shifted from school-based and clinic-based education about the dangers of smoking to direct confrontation of the tobacco industry. But the industry also evolved by developing innovative promotional campaigns, adopting new corporate identities, and forging alliances with other industries and charitable organizations.

Methods:
To document the extent of the commercial, civic, political, academic, military,and cultural ties cultivated by the world´s largest cigarette manufacturer, Philip Morris, a continuous, 35-year ethnographic analysis was conducted, involving daily monitoring of the global business press; monthly review of tobacco industry trade publications; scrutiny of annual company reports; and attendance at 20 shareholders´ meetings, four international tobacco industry trade expositions, and over 200 sports, arts, and ethnic minority events sponsored by the company.

Results:
48 Philip Morris manufacturing facilities in 32 countries produce more than 800 billion cigarettes a year for 180 markets..A pioneer in sponsoring popular programs on the new medium of television in the 1950s; the company circumvented the 1971 ban on TV cigarette advertising by creating sporting events that were internationally televised. By acquiring beer and food companies In the 1980s, Philip Morris retained influence over the mass media covetous of advertising revenue. In 2002 the company changed its name to Altria to diminish the tobacco stigma. It makes the world´s top cigarette brand, Marlboro, and holds 28% of the global market excluding China. The company has forged an extensive network of alliances with agricultural, marketing, chemical, pharmaceutical, financial, packaging, entertainment, shipping, and technology companies, as well as ties to hundreds of museums, arts organizations, universities, libraries, and charities combating problems such as domestic violence, hunger, pollution, illiteracy, and AIDS.

Conclusions:
Greater recognition by health professionals and the public alike of the depth and breadth of the alliances in the Philip Morris genome is essential to progress in tobacco control.

eISSN:1617-9625