April 27-28, 2005
East Hanover, NJ

April 28, 2005


Youth display death shrouds that they wore inside the 2005 Altria shareholders meeting.

Inside the 2005 Altria shareholders meeting, tobacco control advocates from Indonesia, India, and Nigeria -- part of a group of nearly 30 youth and adults who attended together -- drew attention to the company's promotion of death around the world.

  • Dr. Tjandra Yoga Aditama of the Indonesian Smoking Control Foundation addressed the public health impact of Philip Morris's take over of Sampoerna, one of the biggest kretek companies in Indonesia. Read statement

  • Isha Gupta, a 16-year-old high school student involved with HRIDAY-SHAN (India), questioned CEO Louis Camilleri about blatant Marlboro product placement in recent Bollywood movies. Read statement

  • Tosin Orogun of Journalists Action on Tobacco & Health (Nigeria) challenged the CEO over the company's recent entry into the Nigerian market. Read statement

  • Anna White of Essential Action then presented the CEO with a "Happy 50th Deathday" card, left blank inside to represent all the company's addicted customers who are not alive anymore to "celebrate" the occasion. Read statement

At the end of the meeting, as Louis Camilleri started to list all the wonderful "socially responsible" things that the company does around the world, e.g. tsunami relief, support of domestic violence victims, food for the hungry, etc, about two dozen youth and adults covered themselves in black death shrouds bearing skull images and large "Happy 50th Deathday" stickers, and stood up. The CEO interrupted his monologue to order everyone to sit down and stop blocking others' view. Two of the people then moved to the aisle and stood facing the audience through the remainder of the meeting, a silent testimony to what the company is really about. At the meeting's conclusion, youth distributed "Happy 50th Deathday" cards to the company's Board of Directors. Some accepted them. Others did not.


Essential Action's Global Partnerships for Tobacco Control program links tobacco control groups in the U.S. and Canada
with groups in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Central/Eastern Europe to monitor and resist Big Tobacco's global expansion.
For more information, visit our website