180576 Philip Morris's youth smoking prevention programs: CSR as a strategy to forestall regulation

Tuesday, October 28, 2008: 5:45 PM

Dorie E. Apollonio, PhD , Clinical Pharmacy, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
In this study we analyze recent tobacco industry “youth smoking prevention” efforts to demonstrate corporate social responsibility. In the wake of successful tobacco control initiatives, tobacco companies have developed widely-publicized efforts to control the distribution of cigarettes and information about smoking. Many tobacco control advocates have suggested these industry efforts were developed to forestall more effective policies. Using tobacco industry documents released as part of the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA), we review the development and use of two programs developed in the wake of the MSA. We analyzed the documents iteratively to produce these linked case studies. In keeping with research on self-regulation drawn from economics, we find that these programs were extensively focus group-tested to improve the image of the tobacco industry, and drew much of their success by co-opting the reputations of independent organizations such as the National Institutes of Health. Industry appraisals suggest that these efforts have been successful in improving the image of tobacco companies and reducing the perceived need for additional regulation of tobacco. Our findings suggest that policymakers should be cautious about accepting self-regulatory behavior from industry at face value, both because it rebounds to the benefit of its sponsors and because it is far less effective than is socially optimal.

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify “youth smoking prevention” efforts that are sponsored by tobacco companies. 2. Recognize the characteristics and limitations of self-regulation by industry. 3. Determine the issues most likely to prompt industries to attempt to co-opt public health efforts through self-regulation.

Keywords: Tobacco Industry, Tobacco Policy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I performed the research and wrote the abstract.
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.