April 27-28, 2005
East Hanover, NJ

April 28, 2005

Press Release: Thu Apr 28, 2005

Youth Mark 50th Anniversary of Marlboro & Philip Morris's Global Expansion with Demonstration at Altria Shareholders Meeting

EAST HANOVER, N.J., April 28 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Over 100 youth and adults from India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Thailand, California, Hawaii, New York, and Wisconsin will demonstrate outside the 2005 Altria Shareholders Meeting to denounce Philip Morris's global expansion.

This year, Altria Group, parent company of Philip Morris USA and Philip Morris International (the world's largest multinational tobacco company), is celebrating Marlboro's 50th anniversary. 2005 is also the 50th anniversary of the company's overseas expansion. Tobacco now kills 5 million people worldwide annually, a number projected to double by 2025. Marlboro, the cigarette sold most around the world, bears responsibility for many of these deaths.

Youth will mark these macabre anniversaries outside the Altria shareholders meeting with a "Happy 50th Deathday" cake, black balloons, a 15-foot-high Marlboro pack labeled "50 Years of Death" and photos of the company's tobacco promotions around the world to which youth are exposed. Nearly 30 youth and adults are also going inside the meeting to hold the company accountable for targeting their generation.

Isha Gupta, 16, of India says, "Nearly one fourth of the youth in India consume tobacco in some form or another. To get around a new Indian tobacco advertising ban, the tobacco industry is increasing product placement in Indian movies. Marlboro product placement in several recent Bollywood movies is rampant."

"By taking over Indonesia's biggest kretek company," says Dr. Tjandra Yoga Aditama, of the Indonesian Smoking Control Foundation, "Philip Morris will worsen an already serious public health situation. The health of Indonesians must not be sacrificed for Philip Morris' profits. Indonesians call on the company to end all tobacco marketing and advertising in our country."

Tosin Orogun, of Journalists Action on Tobacco and Health, Nigeria, says, "Philip Morris recently started marketing Marlboro cigarettes in Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, with over 40 percent of the population under age 15. Many Nigerian youth, who admire everything America, will become addicted as a result."

Youth and adults from the aforementioned states and countries will be available to talk to media during the demonstration and at a press conference following the meeting at 11:30 a.m. (188 River Road).

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.
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