Trying To Swap Sides

I’ve been trying to get my head around the new Philip Morris ad (click to enlarge) that Dick Puddlecote is reporting:

The gist of it is that, just like millions of people are (supposedly) trying to give up smoking cigarettes, PMI is trying to stop selling cigarettes. It’s even offering to add inserts in its packets offering smokers advice on how to stop.

To me that reads like the Milk Marketing Board (if it still exists) trying to get people to stop buying milk. Or Toyota putting out ads telling people to stop buying cars. It’s the poacher turning (or trying to turn) gamekeeper.

Or PMI has decided that if you can’t beat Tobacco Control (and it seems they can’t), then they’ll just have too join them.

Or, in another analogy, it’s like some Waffen-SS division commander phoning up General Eisenhower or Montgomery towards the end of WW2 and offering to fight on the Allies’ side – perhaps adding that they’d already erased all the swastikas from their tanks.

It seems that Deborah Arnott doesn’t like it:

However, Deborah Arnott, chief executive of health charity Action on Smoking and Health said the “offer to support” local authorities was nothing more than a donation, which is not allowed under World Health Organization guidelines.

“As Philip Morris well knows the government isn’t allowed to accept ‘donations’ from the tobacco industry,” she said.

“However, it does show that the industry has money to burn. Rather than making donations, it should be forced to pay the government more of its enormous profits.”

Tobacco Control need Big Tobacco as its enemy. Because if Tobacco Control is to portray itself as being on the side of the angels, it needs to keep Big Tobacco firmly on the side of the demons. That’s how it is in a manichaean universe where Good is always fighting Evil. Swapping sides is like changing (or trying to change) sex.

It’s just like US neocons need Russia to be an enemy. Because if there’s no enemy, then there’s nothing to fight, and no need to keep up arms production and development. And that would be terrible for arms manufacturers.

I’ll be interested to see how it goes. I like the way that PMI has stolen what seems to be NHS Blue for its ad.

But I think that PMI has no need to change sides. I think they’ve always been on the side of the angels, and that it’s Tobacco Control that is on the side of the devils – which is why I’ve recently begun to portray them as satanic.

After all, Big Tobacco has never done me any harm. Nor anybody else I know. The ‘harm’ they do has all been manufactured, conjured out of the air with statistics. But the harm that Tobacco Control has done to me is enormous: they destroyed the culture in which I lived, and deprived me of all my friends. And that is what they intended to do. Because when Deborah Arnott wrote that “smokers will be exiled to the outdoors”, she also implicitly expressed her wish for smokers to be thus exiled. She did not worry that smokers might be exiled to the outdoors, and expelled from society.

There was only one thing that she was worried about, as she set out a few lines further on back in that 2007 Don’t Hate The Smoker Guardian piece:

But we don’t want to see smokers marginalised, because there’s a danger that they’ll begin to see their habit as a badge of honour, a sign of individuality, something to be proud of.

Once smokers were exiled to the outdoors, they were bound to become marginalised. The outdoors are the margins of society. What Arnott was worried about was that smokers might become proud of their smoking, rather than ashamed of it. And she wanted to make them ashamed. Because exile to the outdoors was also intended to shame smokers. She was just a bit worried that it might backfire.

What she was not in the least bit worried about was what kind of damage might be done to society when large numbers of people were exiled to the outdoors, and thus driven to the margins of society. She was not at all bothered by the prospect of communities becoming divided, of friends falling out with each other, of pubs being bankrupted. She was just worried that smokers might not feel as ashamed as they were supposed to feel. She had no interest in communities or friends or pubs: hers was a monomaniacal fixation on ridding the world of tobacco. Nothing else mattered. Or was unfortunate collateral damage.

In the same piece she then went on to say:

While it’s important to accept the rights of smokers to carry on smoking, it also needs to be recognised that being a smoker is not a matter of free choice; they’re gripped by an addiction fuelled by the tobacco industry and they need support to give up.

And this is the twisted ideology of Tobacco Control, in which smokers are portrayed as  helpless addicts created by Big Tobacco, and they all (or almost all) want to give up smoking, and so need help and “support” to do so. And this is how Tobacco Control portrays itself as being on the side of the angels: they’re “helping” and “supporting” smokers. It’s the same claim that pickpockets make when they “relieve” people of the burden of their wallets.

We’ll never know how Deborah Arnott might explain the tobacco-smoking tribe in the depths of the forests of New Guinea that I mentioned a few days ago. Would she say they only started smoking because someone had given them a packet of Lucky Strike a century ago, and they were still addicted today, and made do with wild tobacco and bamboo pipes?

I think PMI is making a mistake. They’re trying to shed their bad boy image by joining the Scouts. They should instead deny ever having done any harm, and instead point out all the real harm that Tobacco Control does. They should turn the tables on them, not try to swap sides.

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About Frank Davis

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21 Responses to Trying To Swap Sides

  1. Tony says:

    I think the key to Phillip Morris’s actions is the MSA(1998) and to a lesser extent RICO(2006). I posted this comment here a few years ago so I hope you don’t mind my repeating it. Sorry about the length.
    I have no special inside knowledge on this but my understanding follows here:

    First of, the ‘Master Settlement Agreement’ (MSA). This was not a court case as such but an agreement, and an extremely corrupt one at that, between the biggest 4 US tobacco companies and the Atourneys General of 46 American States. The other states made similar arrangements. In gross violation of the American constitution BTW.

    Background:

    Many senior tobacco executives were forced to give evidence in court prior to the mid 1990s and they all followed the company line saying that: ‘they did not believe that smoking had been shown to cause lung cancer’. The anti-smokers lost all of these cases although some were won initially and then overturned on appeal.

    However many of the executives would have had little or no knowledge of the science and indeed may have been fairly recently head hunted from a completely different company. Hence they tended to believe the propaganda and occasionally said so in private internal memos.

    Then, in the 1990s, BATs archive became public. Apparently thousands of documents were stolen and passed to the anti-smokers. A court case ruled that they had therefore entered the public domain and so could be used as evidence in court. The stolen documents contained some of these private memos which proved that the executives had lied about their belief in court.

    The MSA:
    By entering the MSA, they were able to protect themselves from the charge of perjury.
    Specifically, they gained immunity from prosecution and did not have to pay any fines or damages at all. In return, they arranged for the companies that they worked for (basically ran) to agree with everything that the anti-smokers claimed. And for the companies to pay vast sums of money into State coffers, ostensibly to pay for medical costs (non-existent) and anti-smoking crusades (considerable). Several hundred BILLION dollars.

    They were also able to force current and potential rivals to pay too. This meant that the entire cost could and was, passed on directly to their customers. No impact on company profit or stock market value.

    As most people here are already aware, there weren’t really any suppressed tobacco company science documents. The internal memos were the only secret information that the anti-smokers found.

    RICO was basically window dressing that followed on from the MSA. No fines or other penalties were levied, presumably because immunity had already been agreed. But getting a RICO conviction was great PR for the anti-smokers.

    So basically they threw their customers under the bus back in 1998. MSA payments are entirely dependent on market share so the loss of cigarette sales would not hurt them much. At a wild guess, they might even qualify for a refund.

    For years, The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) have been, on and off, fighting to get the corrupt MSA overturned. I suspect that the problem is that it is too big to fail. The latest news I can find is a refusal, in 2011, of the Supreme Court to allow legal action.
    Lots more information here https://cei.org/msa

  2. Rhys says:

    And let’s not forget that a number of states in the US treated the MSA funds as payday loans. They need to keep it going, too, or else they’ll be bankrupt even sooner. What a mess.

    • smokingscot says:

      Well tough titty to the States who do.

      Just looked at the ASH site for the USA and they’re very ambitious indeed.

      “We are building a world with ZERO deaths from tobacco. Thanks to dramatic reductions in smoking, that world – a world where cigarettes are no longer sold for profit – is within reach.”

      https://ash.org/

      Hey I’m quite happy if someone comes up with a plan to supply cigarettes at cost. A “Not For Profit” I can support. As long as the government goes along with it and removes all taxes on tobacco products.

      Can you imagine that? Me neither!

  3. Clicky says:

  4. Smoking Lamp says:

    Well, PMI is likely looking out for the inters test of its shareholders and executives while abandoning its customers. This may also erode some of tobacco control’s propaganda base. It is too early to tell if it will. It is clear the only losers are smokers and free choice. It is a shame the media does not expose the blatant tobacco control lies and manipulations. The entire antismoking project is based on fraud masquerading as concern for health. In actuality it is all about power and plunder.

  5. smokingscot says:

    O/T

    Maybe Hunt goes from D of H and Milton tipped to replace him?

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5244267/Former-nurse-Anne-Milton-tipped-replace-Jeremy-Hunt.html

    25 years as district nurse and yes she voted to ban smoking in enclosed public spaces.

    Couple of days back, ASH speculated it might be Phillip Lee, a GP.

    ash.org.uk/media-and-news/ash-daily-news/ash-daily-news-3-january-2018/

    And he said:

    “Smokers, drinkers, drug users and those who sleep around should pay a premium for their health care to save the NHS from collapse.”

    https://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/556846/Smokers-drinkers-drug-users-pay-NHS-Tory-doctor

    Methinks May’s got a death wish.

    • beobrigitte says:

      The gist of it is that, just like millions of people are (supposedly) trying to give up smoking cigarettes, PMI is trying to stop selling cigarettes. It’s even offering to add inserts in its packets offering smokers advice on how to stop.
      Why would I want inserts in cigarette packets offering advice on how to stop smoking? I certainly would not buy a car from e.g. Mercedes Benz if it was trying to replace their successful product with 3 wheeler bicycles…

      I think PMI is making a mistake. They’re trying to shed their bad boy image by joining the Scouts. They should instead deny ever having done any harm, and instead point out all the real harm that Tobacco Control does.
      Hear hear.

      It seems that Deborah Arnott doesn’t like it:

      However, Deborah Arnott, chief executive of health charity Action on Smoking and Health said the “offer to support” local authorities was nothing more than a donation, which is not allowed under World Health Organization guidelines.

      “As Philip Morris well knows the government isn’t allowed to accept ‘donations’ from the tobacco industry,” she said.
      Why shouldn’t the government receive donations from legitimate businesses?
      How did tobacco control make it’s way into the government(s)? I would like to see complete transparency with respect to how the tobacco control industry maneuvers – retrospectively as well, of course. It doesn’t give ANYTHING to governments, instead it leeches of them!!!
      I do recall a video on youtube from the 1990s (it seems to have magically disappeared) in which the then director of ASH got into a ‘little’ trouble.

      “Smokers, drinkers, drug users and those who sleep around should pay a premium for their health care to save the NHS from collapse.”
      Smokers and drinkers already pay an extortionate amount of tax in addition to the taxes everyone else pay that drug users and those who sleep around don’t. Perhaps this is due to lack of official numbers of drug users and those who sleep around? Wouldn’t it be very embarrassing for politicians and medical doctors to fall into all 4 categories of additional tax payers?
      Dr. Lee, be careful what you wish for…….

  6. Frank Davis says:

    OT, Wikileaks has published Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury as a free pdf. That’s rather neat, as it’ll mean people can read it without paying a penny.to him or his publishers

    The link is:

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Bt6BSc-kxJeTUpMEoJkkbEgEZaSmPjA3/view

    I’ve been able to open it, but not save it as a pdf.

    Unfortunately it’ll probably be gone by tomorrow. Anyone want to download the pdf?

    • You can use “print” (as pdf) instead of “save”. I tried and it worked.

    • smokingscot says:

      Done and there should be an email with the pdf as an attachment sitting in your in box.

      • nisakiman says:

        Oh well done, SS. I tried to download it in various ways, but it wouldn’t let me. I’d love a copy if you wouldn’t mind sending me one as well. admin@nisakiman.com

        • RdM says:

          (Just catching up now)
          Weird. I was able to download it seamlessly from the page yesterday (Firefox, set to download pdfs instead of attempting to load in browser, which I think is Chromes default behaviour) but just in time: today’s message is

          “We’re sorry. You can’t access this item because it is in violation of our Terms of Service.”

        • beobrigitte says:

          I get the same message as RdM does:
          We’re sorry. You can’t access this item because it is in violation of our Terms of Service.

          Perhaps someone who managed to download it would kindly donate a copy?

  7. DP says:

    Dear Mr Davis

    However, Deborah Arnott, chief executive of health charity Action on Smoking and Health said the “offer to support” local authorities was nothing more than a donation, which is not allowed under World Health Organization guidelines.

    “As Philip Morris well knows the government isn’t allowed to accept ‘donations’ from the tobacco industry,” she said.

    “However, it does show that the industry has money to burn. Rather than making donations, it should be forced to pay the government more of its enormous profits.”

    So Ms Arnott doesn’t want a tobacco company to freely and willing gift money to local authorities, which it is legally entitled to do, WHO ‘guidelines’ notwithstanding, but is quite happy that governments extort money from smokers and wants governments to steal even more from the tobacco companies, which, once laundered into nice, clean, government money, she will graciously accept to pay her obscene salary to pursue her private vendetta against smokers.

    What a nice lady …

    DP

  8. jaxthefirst says:

    I really, really wish I didn’t like PM’s cigarettes so much. If I could find a brand which I liked which was produced by another company I’d switch instantly. Sadly, I’ve yet to find one which I enjoy as much, so I’m stuck with funding these backstabbers.

    That said, I’m not sure what to make of all this virtue-signalling by PM. I’ve read quite a lot about it elsewhere, and they’ve certainly been banging on about it for a while now, but I’ve yet to see any evidence of a large-scale nationwide roll-out of their much-trumpeted IQOS device anywhere. At the moment it only seems to be available in one or two shops in one or two major cities, which, bearing in mind that most people buy their tobacco (relatively) locally, means that most of them probably don’t even know it exists. In every place where cigarettes are sold now, there are highly visible displays for many varieties of e-cigarette, but I’ve never yet seen a single one for the IQOS (or, indeed, any other HNB devices). Why on earth aren’t they spending some of those advertising funds that the antis keep banging on about on promoting this “alternative device” if they’re so darned keen for people to stop buying their cigarettes and start buying one of their other products? If their decision to “give up smoking,” as they put it, in such a twee, goody-two-shoes style, is a business one, then it’s unlikely to be a success all the time their marketing tactics remain so limited and they’re unlikely to see much of that bragged-about research money back in sales.

    It’s also notable, I think, that (as far as I am aware), none of the other major tobacco companies have followed suit – something which, if they thought that stopping cigarette production and starting production of other products was a good one, they’d probably be falling over themselves to do, to prevent PM from cornering the market. Perhaps they realise that if PM really do ever stop producing cigarettes, the vast majority of their former customers will switch, not to an alternative PM product (particularly if, as I say above, they don’t make it more widely available), but to another brand of cigarette – possibly theirs!

    Or is this a cunning ploy by PM to try and curry favour with the powers-that-be and thus try and get a few “ears” in Parliament? At the moment, of course, no politician will even speak with them, and so the only people they will listen to on smoking-related matters are the one-sided antis. If they now feel able to speak with at least one tobacco company, because they’re making an effort (or appear to be making an effort) to “do the right thing,” then they might at least stand a chance of “turning” a few politicians away from the constant “kill the evil tobacco industry” rhetoric and entering into a (slightly) more balanced debate. Whatever the real reason is, my suspicion is that it’s this possibility which most worries the Horrible Harridan at ASH, and that’s why she’s so po-faced about it. After all, you’d think that, for her, this would all be good news. A tobacco company actively trying to stop selling combustible cigarettes and offering money, too? You’d think it would be music to her ears!

    • Rose says:

      Alternatives to PM’s IQOS were being tested in Japan last year.

      BAT’s Glo Roll-Out in Japan Sets Up Three-Way War for Smokers
      30 May 2017

      “British American Tobacco is expanding sales of its heated tobacco device next month to Tokyo, just as former cigarette monopoly Japan Tobacco Inc. introduces its Ploom product there in a fight to gain market share from Philip Morris International Inc.”

      “Both companies’ electronic heat-not-burn smokers are jumping into a market where Philip Morris has established an early lead with iQOS, the only such device currently available nationwide.”

      “The plans pit BAT against Japan Tobacco and Phillip Morris in a key region and in the only tobacco category that’s growing as rising taxes and awareness of health risks erodes demand for conventional cigarettes.”
      https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-05-30/bat-s-glo-roll-out-in-japan-sets-up-three-way-war-for-smokers

      “Japan is, at present, the only country where heat-not-burn cigarettes are widely available. The battery-powered devices heat tobacco to approximately 500 degrees Fahrenheit to produce an inhalable aerosol, which delivers nicotine to the lungs ( ? ) without combustion.”
      https://www.medpagetoday.com/Pulmonology/Smoking/68510

      By strange coincidence

      “Nicotinic Acid melts in pure crystalline form at 457 degrees F.”
      https: //web.archive.org/web/20130706113129/http://www.sweetmarias.com:80/roast.carlstaub.html

      When they get here, I think I might buy one for using on holidays, I really hate having to go outside juggling a cup of coffee and a cigarette first thing in the morning.

  9. waltc says:

    The way I see it, it’s all about marketing, especially political marketing. Cigarette sales are down ( fewer people are smoking at least in the western world) and governments are taxing and harassing those who do). It’s a prospectively dwindling market. So–what’s next? Or IOW, how do they hold on to their increasingly harangued customers? How do they get governments to allow them to keep them? They spent a lot of money developing IQOS (whose acronym very seriously bugs me); if it’s a decent smoke, it’s potentially a credible rival to e-cigs and likely to overtake them for people who don’t want to smoke a plastic tampon or fiddle with filling gizmos, and especially when governments increasingly (for the children©) ban e-cig flavors.

    But, they’ve also noticed, most governments came down on e-cigs from the start. Entirely banned them in some countries; over-regulated and railed against them in others. So their pitch is to the pols and the Public Health gurus: Allow them into your countries; don’t strangle them in the cradle. And dealing with arrogant governments, they need to be slavering toadies, or so they’ve (perhaps not incorrectly) decided.

    Right now, they’re test-marketing–selling them in a few places in a few of the less combative countries to give them a convincing record. (See? Smokers like them; they voluntarily switch; smoking rates are down where IQOS are in.)

    Whether this political and paternalistic approach backfires with consumers or even appeases governments is yet to be seen. It’s a gamble but they haven’t got many alternatives in a hostile environment. Like outmatched dogs, they roll over on their bellies.

  10. Vlad says:

    This is so BS…every self respecting smoker should change brands and give PMI the finger.

    • smokingscot says:

      They only make one brand of rolling tobacco. Marlboro.

      It comes in 2 variants, white pack and red with slightly different strengths.

      These were only introduced a few yeas ago, presumably because they’d at long last understood what was happening in Europe.

      Never tried it because I’m not fond of their cigarettes.

      • nisakiman says:

        I tried some Marlboro Red tobacco several years ago. It didn’t taste anything like Marlboro cigarettes (which I think are ok), but was dry and harsh. I only ever bought it the once.

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