Posted by: audreybenenati | February 1, 2010

Where There’s No Smoke, Altria Hopes There’s Fire


Altria, home to Philip Morris and its popular Marlboro cigarette brand, was a corporate pariah for years, blamed for the death of millions of people and sued for hundreds of billions of dollars.

By DUFF WILSON and JULIE CRESWELL

Published: January 30, 2010

FOR years, Altria, home to Philip Morris and its popular Marlboro cigarette brand, was a corporate pariah blamed for the deaths of millions of people and sued for hundreds of billions of dollars by attorneys general in every state. After eventually acknowledging, like others in its industry, that cigarette smoking was, indeed, addictive and caused disease, Altria went a step further. It broke from the Big Tobacco pack and began supporting legislation that would ultimately put the company under the regulatory thumb of the Food and Drug Administration.

Michael Szymanczyk, Altria’s chief, supported regulation of tobacco but is urging the government to allow more marketing of smokeless products.

Altria’s motives for submitting to strict oversight have long been a mystery. Did the company and its executives, who were internally pursuing a strategy of “societal alignment,” suddenly embrace a true partnership on public health? Or was this a case, as its longtime foes and competitors have argued, of Altria seeking to generate good P.R. or lock in its market dominance by cozying up to a regulator that could restrict rivals from marketing new products?

Read the rest at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/31/business/31altria.html?pagewanted=1&hpw

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: