LA TImes

Philip Morris Responds to Attack on Cigarette Industry by John Oliver. Part of the Philip Morris Response: ‘we take seriously the responsibility that comes with selling a product that is an adult choice and is harmful to health.’

Feb 17, 2015  •  Post A Comment

Tobacco company Philip Morris has offered a response after coming under fire on an HBO show. The Los Angeles Times reports that the company issued a statement after John Oliver, the host of “Last Week Tonight,” devoted much of last Sunday night’s installment of the show to a segment attacking the tobacco firm.

“The HBO host spent about 20 minutes ripping into the tobacco company’s threats of lawsuits — especially in poorer nations such as Togo — in what Oliver called an attempt to ward off more stringent regulations on cigarettes, such as laws that require cigarette boxes to feature pictures of diseased body parts and warnings of the health consequences of smoking,” the Times reports.

In the segment, Oliver suggested a replacement for the Marlboro Man, introducing a character he calls “Jeff the Diseased Lung in a Cowboy Hat.”

The segment has been one of TVWeek’s Viral Videos for several days. To see it, please click here.

A statement issued by Philip Morris International after the show aired says in part:

“’Last Week Tonight with John Oliver’ is a parody show, known for getting a laugh through exaggeration and presenting partial views in the name of humor. The segment includes many mischaracterizations of our company, including our approach to marketing and regulation, which have been embellished in the spirit of comedic license.

“While we recognize the tobacco industry is an easy target for comedians, we take seriously the responsibility that comes with selling a product that is an adult choice and is harmful to health.”




  1. Oh, of *course* they take it seriously. I’m sure those cigarette kiosks will be closed by the end of the week.

  2. I’ll still respect you in the morning. Consolidation is good for radio. Citizens is good for American people. Merging Continental and United will result in more planes in the air, more seats, more routes and way cheaper airfares. And this one: It won’t hurt a bit.

  3. That was supposed to be Citizens United is good for the American people. Sorry.

  4. Congress banned the advertising of cigarettes on television and radio effective January 2, 1971.

    In 1996 the FDA tried to restrict tobacco advertising but the tobacco industry successfully challenged those efforts in court

    More than four decades later tobacco companies continue to advertise albeit not on broadcast outlets.
    In 2014 R.J. Reynolds Tobacco placed ads for Camel cigarettes in magazines.

    According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) smoking causes more than 480,000 death yearly in the U.S. (approx.1 in 5 deaths) and is estimated to increase the risk of lung cancer 25 times and 25.7 times in men and women respectively,harms every organ of the body,is the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., can increase risks for birth defects and miscarriage, affect bone health, cause tooth loss, increase risk for cataracts, increase the risk of developing diabetes by 30–40% for active smokers, cause adverse effects on immune function, and is a cause of rheumatoid arthritis.

    The CDC also reported that in 2011 the tobacco industry spent $8.4 billion on cigarette advertising and promotional expenses in the U.S., smokeless tobacco advertising and promotion rose to $451.7 million, and cigarette and smokeless tobacco companies spent on or more than $24 million each day on marketing.

    Furthermore, annual public and private health care expenditures caused by smoking totaled $170 Billion.

    Is there a sane reason why tobacco companies should be allowed to advertise cigarettes?
    Is there a sane reason why Congress does not take action to ban all cigarette advertising?

  5. Congrats Jon Oliver doing this expose on Philip Morris
    Well done
    Public service announcement

  6. Well done To Jon Oliver for standing up to those thuggish bullies aka Philip Morris who will do everything to continue selling ill-health , disability and premature death. As well as health warnings about cancer etc. There should be ones about bad breath tooth decay etc.

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