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The American Cancer Society

Philip Morris International's Merchant Of Death Strikes Again

by Dr. Len May 12, 2011



I used that word once before back in January 2008 when I wrote a blog about the (then) new CEO of Philip Morris International (PMI).  His name is Louis Camilleri, and he was the subject of an article that appeared in the Wall Street Journal talking about the spin-off of PMI from Philip Morris US so they could more easily sell their toxic products worldwide.


I called him the next generation of a merchant of death, seeming to relish the opportunity to make big money marketing deadly cigarettes to then fertile markets around the globe.


Well, Mr. Camilleri has surfaced again-this time making the outrageous comment that "tobacco is not that hard to quit."


You have to be kidding.  Cigarettes are incredibly addictive, and heavy smokers have a very difficult time quitting.  Our statistics in this country show that for the most part our ability nationwide to reduce the number of chronic smokers has hit a roadblock.


Here is what was written about Mr. Camilleri and his company back in 2008 in that Wall Street Journal article I mentioned above..  Put these comments together with what he said the other day, and you can come to your own conclusion:


"The separate entity, for example, would be exempt from U.S. tobacco regulations and out of reach of American litigators.  Importantly, its practices would no longer by constrained by American public opinion, paving the way for broad product experimentation."


Or, try this:


"The move (to separate the international division from the United States parent) will make it easier for the tobacco behemoth to market an array of new smoking concepts, each targeted to different foreign populations, who, collectively are expected to smoke 5.2 trillion cigarettes this year."


Here is another quote of interest:


"With some 350 million smokers, China has 50 million more cigarette buyers than the U.S. has people, according to Euromonitor.  Its booming tobacco industry, which the government says generates around $30 billion in tax revenue in 2005, is a pillar of the economy."


Tobacco will kill over one billion people over the next century, which is likely more than any other man-made cause.  So while Mr. Camilleri continues to book his profits and push his poisons, he also continues to show a remarkable ability to self-justify the truly awful behavior of his company throughout the world.


These guys just don't get it. Or worse, they just don't care about putting humanity in peril. 


To America and the world: Read it and weep. 


Filed Under:

Lung Cancer | Media | Prevention | Tobacco


5/13/2011 11:29:48 AM #

Pam Young

Thank you, Dr. Len, for your understanding and your appreciated leadership. I am a retired professor who smoked for 40+ years. Not that I didn't try to quit--I certainly did, many times along the way. Discovering how addicted I actually was--despite smoking less than half a pack a day when I finally quit in January 2006, was the beginning of a life-transforming experience. And five years later, when I knew for certain that I was finished with smoking, I wrote MY FINAL QUIT to share the journey with others hoping to be free from addiction, any addiction. It's not a "how-to" book. Smokers have had that shoved in their faces their entire smoking life with little success. Instead, it's my personal journey told through excerpts of the actual journal I kept during throughout the experience. It's the "quit-buddy" I wish I'd had every time I tried, but failed, to quit. It's what enabled me, finally, to replace my "cigarette as best friend" with "myself as best friend"--a major step on my spiritual path.

Pam Young

5/13/2011 12:21:14 PM #

Gregory D. Pawelski

Mr. Camilleri's comment "tobacco is not that hard to quit" has me a little perplexed. Dr. Carolyn M. Dresler, former Head, Tobacco and Cancer Group of the International Agency for Research on Cancer, stated in a paper, "since a substantial number of patients presenting with lung cancer either smoked in the recent past or continue to do so, it is important to make sure that the patient stops smoking as soon as possible to improve their treatment outcome."

I've gleamed over the cancer discussion boards for years and I'm totally surprised at how many lung cancer patients are still smoking while being given chemotherapy for their disease. No pharmaceutical trial ever followed whether patients smoked during their clinical trials, despite dosing themselves daily with cigarettes with hundreds of chemicals in them. Dr. Dresler stated that "the addition of nicotine inhibits the ability of a chemo drug (like etoposide) to induce apoptosis by 61%."

"Tobacco is not that hard to quit"? And a lung cancer patient cannot even quit while they are receiving chemotherapy for the consequences of their addiction? Mr. Camilleri needs to visit some of these chemotherapy infusion rooms, and often, to see what the "addiction" is to the products his company makes that makes him think it is so easy to quit.

Gregory D. Pawelski

About Dr. Len

Dr. Len

J. Leonard Lichtenfeld, MD, MACP - Dr. Lichtenfeld is Deputy Chief Medical Officer for the national office of the American Cancer Society.