A recent Croakey post described a new study looking at how tobacco and alcohol companies have shared strategies and information in the fight against public health initiatives.
Curtin Universityy researchers retrieved 29 alcohol-related documents in a search of millions of tobacco industry documents published online as part of the Master Settlement Agreement in the US.
I’ve since had the chance to read some of these documents and thought Croakey readers might enjoy a few excerpts.
This is from a speech by the then ceo of Philip Morris, Hamish Maxwell, given in Washington DC in 1986 to a company conference. After saying that government action on trade, taxes, and regulation were more of a threat to the company’s business “than all our commercial competition”, he said:
“…we have every right to defend our interests by any legitimate means at our disposal. Everyone else does it. Certainly we speak of ‘freedom of choice’ and we mean smoking. The magazine publishers speak of freedom of the press and they mean postal rates. The aircraft manufacturers refer to national security and they mean more military planes and they mean jobs and sales and profits. We all need to defend them and why not? We owe it to our stockholders, and our fellow employees….”
And this is from the Philip Morris CEO Issues Book 2000 which gives recommended answers to tricky questions the company may face over its products, ranging from tobacco to alcohol, food and environmental concerns.
“Do you believe that the food industry is responsible for the epidemic of childhood obesity?
What are you doing about it?
• Obesity is about energy balance – how many calories are expended through physical activity – versus how many calories are taken in each day.
• Food and diet certainly are part of this equation, but experts say that the decline in physical activity may be a somewhat bigger contributor to the rise in childhood obesity.
• The food industry recognizes this problem and is beginning to address it. Through our trade associations, KF (Kraft Foods) is working with obesity experts to develop a campaign to raise awareness of the issue and provide intervention programs at the community level.”
Meanwhile, this is an extract from a presentation to the Philip Morris board in 1987 by Alan Easton a former senior executive at the Miller Brewing Company. It was titled “Advertising and sales restrictions, labeling and health warnings, as it affects all our products”.
“There is a whole big bunch of social engineers out there — many of them just flat-out neo-prohibitionists — who are after us and the products we make. During this past year they have done a lot of soul-searching and have been re-evaluating their positions and tactics. The conclusion they’ve reached is this: As long as the public continues to view ANY consumption of alcohol and ABUSIVE use of alcohol as two different subjects — a view the brewing industry has successfully encouraged — the majority of the anti-alcohol agenda will not be met with much success.
The result is a new strategy by the social engineers — a strategy to make the drinking of any alcoholic beverage a moral issue. Stigmatize the consumer. Make the beer drinker a social outcast.
A significant part of their strategy is to get the public to view drinkers of beer in the same vein as they view users of hard drugs. In fact, Health and Human Services Secretary Bowen has even begun to use the phrase, “alcohol and other drugs.”
This new wave of prohibition is based on the idea that the way to fight alcoholism in society is to control or eliminate the availability of alcohol beverages. In my opinion, the whole idea is more than a little like saying the way to reduce the divorce rate is to prohibit marriage….”
• Thanks to Laura Bond, the lead author on the paper, for sharing the links to the papers analysed in the study, Selling addictions: Similarities in approaches between Big Tobacco and Big Booze, which is published in the Australasian Medical Journal.
You can read them for yourself here:
Beer Institute. Beer Institute advertising and marketing code. 1992. Philip Morris. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/gsp52c00
Crisp R. Distilled Spirits Council United States. 20 Jul 1988. Tobacco Institute. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/dpp72f00
Maxwell H. Philip Morris. Draft speech for Hamish Maxwell, marketing meeting, 24 June 1983. 24 June 1983. Philip Morris. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/nyz24e00
Boyse S. Tobacco Advisory Council. [Note on: “The medical consequences of alcohol abuse: a great and growing evil”]. 30 Jun 1987. British American Tobacco. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/zhi00a99
Maxwell H. Speech by Hamish Maxwell given at Corporate Affairs conference 860908, Washington, DC. 8 Sept 1986. Philip Morris. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/hna34e00
Miller Brewing Company. Environment assessment – Domestic beer (Miller). 1998. Philip Morris. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/ehe36c00
Eibon J. Philip Morris. Information sharing meeting with Miller Beer. 17 Apr 1992. Philip Morris. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/jwz95e00
Miller Brewing Company. Miller beer synergy opportunities. 7 Mar 1995. Philip Morris. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/kwd22d00
JGR. 7 Apr 1995. Philip Morris. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/pwl27a00
Easton A. Miller Brewing Company. Advertising and sales restrictions, labelling and health warnings, as it affects all our products: Philip Morris board presentation. 4 Dec 1987. Philip Morris. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/zrl46e00
Bring M. Philip Morris. CEO Issues Book. 15 Apr 1996. Philip Morris. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/vtk71b00
Philip Morris. CEO Issues Book. 1998. Philip Morris. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/rdz56c00
Philip Morris. CEO Issues Book 2000. 2000. Philip Morris. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/pik27a00
Philip Morris. Miller Brewing Company Five-Year Plan 920000-960000. 1992. Philip Morris. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/psm42e00
Guillie P. Company MB. A tax increase we don’t want or need. 15 May 2000. Philip Morris,. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/tuz38d00
Teague C. Research planning memorandum on some thoughts about new brands of cigarettes for the youth market. 2 Feb 1973. Tobacco Institute. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/iiu91f00
Philip Morris. [Minimum drinking age]. Aug 1994. Philip Morris,. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/qyg65e00
Unknown. Advertising and promotion – primary questions. 2 Mar 1995. Phillip Morris. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/uia77e00
Murray R. Philip Morris. [Letter to Robert Bowman RE: minors]. 29 Jun 1990. Philip Morris. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/pns24e00
Unknown. Competitive Activity – Industry Ethnic. 6 Dec 1982. RJ Reynolds. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/csh75d00
Easton A. Milller Brewing Company. Miller Brewing Company corporate affairs – 1984/1985. 19 Dec 1984. Philip Morris. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/ttp14e00
Unknown. Strategic approach to new products. 26 Oct 1989. Philip Morris. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/zhw03e00
Unknown. Public relations. Youth initiatives proactive public relations. 1994. RJ Reynolds. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/mpy43d00
Unknown. Preventing alcohol abuse. 1992. Philip Morris. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/rar93c00
Miller Brewing Company. Miller’s underage prevention efforts. Apr 1995. Philip Morris. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/lqs57d00
British American Tobacco. A submission presented on behalf of British American Tobacco Australia to the Department of Health and Aged Care in consideration of health warnings on tobacco products in Australia. 6 July 2001. Philip Morris. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/zcn10c00
Philip Morris Limited. Submission by Philip Morris Limited in response to review of health warnings on tobacco products in Australia. 6 July 2001. Philip Morris. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/ycn10c00
Unknown. Preliminary Beer Module Script. 26 Apr 1989. Philip Morris. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/ysw36e00
Unknown. [Resistance by the non-problem drinker]. 22 Jun 1979. RJ Reynolds. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/agb19d00