Charities round on tobacco giant

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Philip Morris has been accused of "staggering hypocrisy" after producing a campaign calling for smokers to ditch cigarettes

22nd October 2018 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Health charities have rounded on a tobacco giant which has produced an anti-smoking advert.

Philip Morris, one of the world’s biggest tobacco firms, has launched a new campaign called Hold My Light, which urges smokers to ditch cigarettes.

However charities have accused the company of shocking hypocrisy and said the firm is using the campaign to get around anti-tobacco advertising rules.

The Marlboro maker said the move was "an important next step" in its aim to "ultimately stop selling cigarettes".

The campaign has seen a four-page wraparound ad in today’s Daily Mirror and a campaign video created, which shows a young woman negotiating a Mission Impossible-style room in order to hand her cigarette lighter over to a group of friends, who are supporting her in a bid to give up smoking.

George Butterworth, Cancer Research UK's tobacco policy manager, described the campaign as staggering hypocrisy.

He said: "The best way Philip Morris could help people to stop smoking is to stop making cigarettes.”

ASH Scotland chief executive Sheila Duffy said: "Philip Morris Ltd’s new 'Hold My Light' campaign is a cynical attempt to promote its new tobacco and vaping products in a declining cigarette market. This is not a credible campaign, and PMI Ltd is no credible friend to smokers or their children.

"Internationally, Philip Morris's actions speak for its intentions. It promotes its tobacco products where it is legally allowed to do so, and undermines public health measures designed to save lives. If it is serious about people quitting tobacco, we call on it to commit to ending all marketing and promotion of its tobacco products globally, and to do so now."

The company has said the campaign is about supporting smokers to find alternatives to cigarettes, as it moves towards creating new products.