Even Hurwitz

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Even Hurwitz was Senior Vice President for Corporate Affairs at Philip Morris International (PMI) from 2006 until June 2013.[1][2]

He was also a Board member of SMPM International, a joint venture between PMI and Swedish Match to expand snus sales internationally, which was dissolved in 2015.

Background

Before joining the tobacco industry, Hurwitz was a partner at law firm Arnold & Porter LLP, [3] which has represented Philip Morris USA and Altria since 1963.[4]

Long-Standing Career with the Tobacco Industry

Hurwitz joined the tobacco industry in 1999, when he started working for Altria.[5] Hurwitz has held several positions including:[5][6]

  • Senior Vice President Corporate Affairs PMI (2006-2013)
  • Vice President of Regulatory and Fiscal Affairs PMI (2005- 2006)
  • President and Associate General Counsel for PMI’s Latin America and Canada region (2003-2005)
  • Vice President and Associate General Counsel PMI (2001-2003)
  • Associate General Counsel, Worldwide Regulatory Affairs at Altria Group (1999-2003)

Justified Uruguayan Lawsuit

In February 2010, PMI (represented by law firm LALIVE) challenged Uruguay using the World Bank’s International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes, seeking damages under the Switzerland-Uruguay Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) for tobacco control regulations introduced by Uruguay.[7]

Several parties accused the tobacco company of preventing the Government of Uruguay from protecting the health of its citizens.[8] Defending the company’s claim against Uruguay, Hurwitz told the media that “Our lawsuit is not a question of public health versus business. We are challenging regulations which are not fairly applied to all companies, which add further fuel to Uruguay’s huge black market in cigarettes and have not even been shown to reduce smoking prevalence.”[8] Hurwitz’s arguments, in particular the argument that tobacco legislation will lead to increased illicit trade and will not have the intended public health outcome, are not new. The industry has used these arguments to try undermine tobacco legislation in other parts of the world, including the Uganda Tobacco Control Bill 2014, and plain packaging legislation in Australia and the United Kingdom.

Corporate Social Responsibility: Tobacco Farming

On 9 February 2007, Hurwitz wrote to the World Health Organization (WHO) ahead of the WHO public hearing held in Brasilia on 26 February 2007 on agricultural diversification and alternative crops to tobacco.[9][10]

In his letter, Hurwitz wrote that PMI supported the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) process, and its goal to offer tobacco farmers better livelihoods by offering viable crop alternatives, but added that tobacco consumption was likely to continue for the foreseeable future and that therefore PMI will continue to purchase tobacco leaf from tobacco farmers.[9] Hurwitz then continued to promote PMI’s Good Agriculture Practices (GAP) program, which the company set up in collaboration with tobacco leaf suppliers and farmers, to provide clear guidelines for good agricultural practice in areas child labour, safety, and environmental impact. Hurwitz closed the letter by suggesting that PMI welcomed “the opportunity to provide detailed information on our GAP program to the Tobacco Free Initiative and members of the ad-hoc study group”.[9]

Tobacco companies have tied tobacco farming into their corporate social responsibility agenda, attempting to present themselves as good corporate citizens while obscuring the many challenges created by tobacco agriculture, including health risk to the farmers such as acute nicotine poisoning, known as green tobacco sickness. In 2009, Hurwitz acknowledged that “The more we looked into green tobacco sickness, the more we realised that this was an issue we missed…We didn’t realise how serious it is.”[11]

TobaccoTactics Resources

Notes

  1. Philip Morris International, Our Leadership Team, 14 December 2012 accessed 18 February 2018
  2. Philip Morris International, Our Leadership Team, 3 July 2013, accessed October 2018
  3. Philip Morris International, Our Management, undated, accessed October 2018
  4. Sourcewatch, Arnold & Porter, last updated 11 August 2012, accessed May 2018
  5. 5.0 5.1 Altria Group Inc., Information Statement of Philip Morris International Inc., March 2008, accessed October 2018
  6. Executive Profile: Even Hurwitz, Bloomberg.com, 2018, accessed October 2018
  7. T.J. Weiler, Legal Opinion: Philip Morris vs. Uruguay An Analysis of Tobacco Control Measures in the Context of International Investment Law, Physicians for a Smoke Free Canada website, 28 July 2010, accessed October 2018
  8. 8.0 8.1 Business Wire India.com, Philip Morris International Responds to Blatant Mischaracterisation of Uruguayan Lawsuit, 22 November 2010, accessed October 2018
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 E. Hurwitz, Agricultural diversification and crop alternatives to tobacco, Letter to Tobacco Free Initiative, World Health Organization, Lausanne 9 February 2007, accessed October 2018
  10. World Health Organization, Report on the public hearing on agricultural diversification and alternative crops to tobacco for the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, 26 February 2007, Brasilia, 8 June 2007, accessed October 2018
  11. Tobacco-facts.net, Tackling Green Tobacco Sickness, 25 March 2009, accessed October 2018