The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA

3343.0: Monday, November 11, 2002 - 9:31 PM

Abstract #47920

ACT-UP boycott of Marlboro cigarettes and Miller beer 1990-1991

Naphtali Offen, BS1, Elizabeth Smith, PhD1, and Ruth E. Malone2. (1) Social & Behavioral Sciences, University of California, San Francisco, Box 0612, Laurel Heights, San Francisco, CA 94143-0936, 415-514-3133,, (2) Institute for Health Policy Studies and Department of Social & Behavioral Sciences, University of California, San Francisco, 3333 California St., Suite 265, San Francisco, CA 94143-0936

In 1990, ACT-UP/D.C., part of a network of organizations fighting the AIDS epidemic, called for a boycott of Philip Morris' flagship brand, Marlboro cigarettes. Philip Morris was the largest corporate contributor to the campaign of Senator Jesse Helms (R-N.C.), the Senate's leading opponent of AIDS funding and its most unapologetic homophobe. ACT-UP demanded that Philip Morris cease their financial support of the Senator, repudiate their former support and meet with the group to discuss their corporate responsibility to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. Tobacco as a health hazard was a non-issue for the boycotters. The boycott spread rapidly around the nation and soon included Miller Beer, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Philip Morris. Because Miller was a regular sponsor of gay events, the targeting of Miller split the community. Internal tobacco industry documents and newspaper clippings reveal the strategies used by the industry to deal with the boycott. Among their tactics were demonizing ACT-UP as an extremist group; publicizing their financial support for LGBT and AIDS-related issues and attempting to make new donations; exploiting the divisions within the LGBT community, especially around Miller Beer; and ultimately agreeing to donate large sums of money annually to AIDS and LGBT organizations. As a result of the settlement, Philip Morris was able to establish many relationships within the LGBT community. Funding: National Cancer Institute Grant #1 R01 CA90789-01

Learning Objectives:

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.

Identities, Images and Deceptions: The Tobacco Industry and Special Populations

The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA