Altria

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Background

Altria, known pre-2003 as Philip Morris Companies Inc., is the American parent company of:[1]

  • Philip Morris USA, a cigarette manufacturer
  • U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company, a smokeless tobacco manufacturer
  • John Middleton, a cigars and pipe tobacco manufacturer
  • Nat Sherman, a premium cigarettes and cigars manufacturer (from 2017)
  • Nu Mark, an e-cigarette company
  • Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, a wine producer

In January 2018, Altria employed almost 8,000 people in the United States (US).[1]

Altria's tobacco arm owns four major brands, Marlboro, Copenhagen, Skoal and Black & Mild, and its s e-cigarette business the Mark Ten and Greensmoke brands.[1][2]

Philip Morris USA vs Philip Morris International

Prior to 2007, Altria also owned the international operations of Philip Morris. But in 2007, the company decided to separate the firm's US and international operations. According to the Associated Press, the move cleared "the international tobacco business from the legal and regulatory constraints facing its domestic counterpart, Philip Morris USA".[3]

The spin-off was completed in 2008, leaving two distinct companies: independent Philip Morris International and Philip Morris USA (the latter remains under Altria's control).[4]

Employees & Board Members: Past and Present

Martin J. Barrington became the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chairman of Altria in May 2012.

A full list of the company's leadership team can be accessed at Altria's website.

Other persons associated with the company:

Elizabeth Bailey | Gerald Baliles | Harold Brown | Louis C. Camilleri | David R . Beran | John Casteen | Kevin Click | Dinyar Devitre | Thomas Farrell | Dudley Fishburn | Kevin Freudenthal | Carlos Slim Helú | Craig A. Johnson | Thomas Jones | Denise F. Keane | Martin Liptrot | George Muñoz | Lucio A. Noto | John R. Nelson Jr. | Nabil Sakkab | Michael E. Szymanczyk | Howard A. Willard III | Stephen M. Wolf

Affiliations

Memberships

In 2017, Altria reported that it financially supported and had employees in voluntary leadership roles in the following organisations:[5]

American Legislative Exchange Council's Private Enterprise Advisory Council (ALEC) | Florida Association of Wholesale Distributors (FAWD) | California Retailers Association | Georgia Chamber of Commerce | Missouri Chamber of Commerce | National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) | National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) | National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO) | US Chamber of Commerce

Lobbyists

In January 2018, the Louisville Courier Journal reported that the Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission records showed that the highest paid people working at the Kentucky Assembly were lobbyists paid by large corporations, including tobacco companies, to influence the State government.[6] The records named six lobbyists that listed Altria as a client:[7]

  • James "Jitter" Allen
  • Linda T Magee
  • John T McCarthy III
  • John S Rainey Jr, Altria
  • Michael ('Mike') Shea, Partner at lobbying firm Government Strategies

Funding Scientists

Funding scientists is a well-established strategy for the tobacco industry to influence the research agenda and create doubt about independent research and scientific consensus around smoking and health.[8]

Altria has a history of funding scientists.

In 2006, UK newspaper The Guardian revealed that Altria had paid Steve Milloy, the founder of the website Junkscience.com (which was part-funded by the company), under contract "until at least the end of 2005" to discredit studies, among other things, on environmental tobacco smoke.[9]

From 2010 to 2013, Altria also funded Brad Rodu, an outspoken proponent of tobacco harm reduction.[10] Using his blog (rodutobaccotruth.blogspot.com), Rodu has criticised tobacco control experts in the US and the European Union (EU), and attempted to create doubt about the science behind regulations on potentially reduced risk products such as smokeless tobacco, snus, and e-cigarettes.[11] For example, in 2013, when the EU was revising its tobacco control measures in the Tobacco Products Directive, Rodu called the EU snus ban "indefensible and immoral".[12] A blogpost earlier that year heavily criticised a study by the Harvard School of Public Health demonstrating that smokeless tobacco users were likely to smoke, with Rodu discrediting the lead author as a "tobacco prohibitionist" and the study as being "tainted by unscientific bias".[13]

In 2012, Rodu praised Altria's nicotine lozenge Verve in the Winston-Salem Journal, being quoted as saying "This is a positive development for American smokers, because it introduces them to another category of recreational smoke-free cigarette substitutes".[14] The article failed to disclose that Rodu was, at that time, funded by Altria.[10]

To learn more about the tobacco industry's history of influencing science, visit our pages on how the tobacco industry commissioned research and reviews and created doubt about existing scientific evidence.

Next Generation Products

To improve the tobacco industry's sustainability, tobacco companies have invested in tobacco and nicotine products that, unlike cigarettes, may show volume growth potential in developed markets.[15]

These products are often referred to as Next Generation Products (NGPs), and are linked to tobacco companies' harm reduction strategies.

In February 2018, Martin J. Barrington told investors that Altria’s goal was to be “the U.S. leader in reduced risk products”.[16] Howard Willard, Altria’s Chief Operating Officer, told investors that the tobacco company will file a Modified Risk Tobacco Product application with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its Copenhagen snuff.[16]

If successful, Altria will be allowed to market the snuff as reduced-risk. Altria also has other products in its NGP portfolio. Through its subsidiary Nu Mark, Altria sells nicotine lozenges and e-cigarettes. In 2012 Nu Mark started selling Verve, a nicotine lozenge that comes in four forms (discs, chews, chewable dissolvables and melts). The company also sells two brands of e-cigarette: Green Smoke and MarkTen XL.[2]

In December 2013, Altria and PMI signed a licensing, supply and cooperation agreement, which allows Altria to sell PMI's NGPs in the US, including its heated tobacco product iQOS), while PMI has the right to market Altria's NGPs outside the US.

Stake in Alcohol Industry

Altria owns wine producer Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, and used to have a 27.1% share in SABMiller, one of the world's largest brewers and bottling companies, before that company merged with AB InBev in 2016.[17] Following the merger, InBev became the largest beer company in the world, of which Altria now owns 9.6%.[18]

TobaccoTactics Resources

Relevant Link

Altria homepage

Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Altria, At-A-Glance, Altria website, undated, accessed January 2018
  2. 2.0 2.1 Nu Mark, Our Products, undated, accessed January 2018
  3. Associated Press, 'Altria to spin off Philip Morris International', NBCnews.com, 29 August 2007, accessed January 2018
  4. Altria, Our heritage, Altria website, undated, accessed January 2018
  5. Altria, Political contributions, Altria website, undated, accessed March 2017
  6. T. Loftus, These 20 lobbyists were among the highest paid at the state Capitol in 2017, Louisville Courier Journal, 19 January 2018, accessed January 2018
  7. Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission Kentucky Registered Legislative Agents, 19 January 2018, accessed January 2018
  8. M. Scollo, Denial & Delay: The Political History of Smoking and Health 1951-1964, Scientists, Government and Industry as seen in the papers at the Public Records Office. British Medical Journal, 2000;321(7257):389
  9. G. Monbiot, The denial industry, The Guardian , 19 September 2006, accessed January 2018
  10. 10.0 10.1 B. Rodu, DDS Curriculum Vitae, 1 December 2014, accessed March 2017
  11. B. Rodu, www.rodutobaccotruth.blogspot.com, accessed April 2017
  12. B. Rodu, What the EU Snus Ban Means: 290, 865 Casualties Per Year, 27 November 2013, available from: rodutobaccotruth.blogspot.com, accessed April 2017
  13. B. Rodu, Fabricating a Smoking Gateway, available from rodutobaccotruth.blogspot.com, accessed April 2017
  14. R. Craver, Altria tests smokeless product that contains no tobacco, Winston-Salem Journal, 24 May 2012, accessed January 2018
  15. Euromonitor International, Global Tobacco Key Findings Part 2: Vapour Products. August 2016
  16. 16.0 16.1 M. Kress, Altria Sets Sights on Leading Reduced-Risk Tobacco Push, ConvenienceStore News, 5 March 2018, accessed March 2018
  17. R. Hargreaves, Altria's holding in SAB is worth more than you think, Seeking Alpha, 5 August 2014, accessed January 2018
  18. Altria, Altria Reports 2016 Third-Quarter and Nine-Month Results; Reaffirms 2016 Full Year Earnings Guidance, Press Release 27 October 2016, accessed January 2018