179600 Tobacco industry corporate image as seen through a new collection of internal documents: Implications for tobacco control policy

Tuesday, October 28, 2008: 4:30 PM

Lissy C. Friedman, JD , Public Health Advocacy Institute, Northeastern University School of Law, Boston, MA
A new data set of 8,862 internal tobacco industry documents that were found not to have any legal privilege attached to them in the Department of Justice's racketeering case recently have been made available online. Through the study of these documents, we will provide state tobacco control programs and advocates with a resource that will add value to their efforts to prevent and reduce tobacco use. Ongoing scholarship shows that the tobacco industry is still developing strategies to persuade the public that it has adopted corporate social responsibility values and has changed the way it does business. Yet the industry still targets young adult smokers, dissembles about the dangers of its products, and seeks to divert the public's attention from its ongoing efforts to cultivate new addicted smokers to replace the ones it loses through cessation, disease and death. This presentation describes the tobacco industry's cynical approach towards improved corporate responsibility and how its misuse of legal privilege to suppress evidence of its nefarious marketing and lobbying activities is antithetical to the very meaning of good corporate citizenship. Highlighted documents will address topics such as marketing to young adults and minorities; misrepresentations about light cigarettes; and industry efforts at thwarting secondhand smoke scholarship, regulation and legislation. Conclusions drawn and lessons learned via this research have practical application not only in America but internationally because the tobacco industry is counting on a less well-organized tobacco control front outside the United States to allow it to thrive and continue business as usual.

Learning Objectives:
1. Articulate the findings of a new set of tobacco industry documents recently held to have no legal privilege of confidentiality in the Department of Justice's racketeering trial, including those that pertain to the tobacco industry's efforts at improving its corporate image and those documents that show a contradiction of image versus reality. 2. Demonstrate for tobacco control programs and advocates how these new documents can be used to counter false perceptions that the tobacco industry has changed the way it does business. 3. Develop a range of new messages that can be conveyed to priority populations to help assist in the reduction and cessation of tobacco use.

Keywords: Tobacco Control, Tobacco Policy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Principle Investigator
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.