The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA

4313.0: Tuesday, November 12, 2002 - 8:48 PM

Abstract #41500

“Altria” means tobacco: Philip Morris’s new image

Elizabeth Smith, PhD1, Naphtali Offen, BS1, and Ruth E. Malone, RN, PhD2. (1) Social & Behavioral Sciences, University of California, San Francisco, Box 0612, San Francisco, CA 94143-0612, 415-502-5238,, (2) Institute for Health Policy Studies, University of California, San Francisco, 3333 California St., Suite 265, San Francisco, CA 94143-0936

In November 2001, tobacco giant Philip Morris announced its intention to change its name to Altria. Examination of the company’s internal documents reveals that this name change is part of a long-term internal struggle, and a long-term corporate strategy. Philip Morris started considering its image as early as 1990, when the company acquired Kraft in a hostile takeover. Discussion of name changes began at that time. One motivation for a name change was to distance the company’s image from its tobacco holdings, without having to distance itself from the resulting profits. This theme was brought up repeatedly throughout the 1990s in polls of the general public and opinion leaders as well as company planning documents. The documents indicate that Philip Morris expects the name change to alter public perception of the company, giving them more credibility as a “responsible corporate citizen.” They also expect that this altered perception will make their stock more attractive to individual and institutional investors. Tobacco control advocates will learn the details of the company’s strategies and motivations which can inform efforts to keep Philip Morris/Altria’s connections to tobacco in the public eye. Funded by National Cancer Institute Grant #1 R01 CA90789-01.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Tobacco Industry, Tobacco Control

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

New Images and Activities of the Tobacco Industry

The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA