News Release

Health Activists Blast Proposed Tobacco Settlement, Denounce Failure to Deal With Expansion Overseas


WASHINGTON — While attorneys general from some states are touting a tentative deal with the tobacco industry, opponents say that one of the biggest problems with the proposed settlement is that it completely ignores the international operations of cigarette companies.

Among the tobacco foes available for interviews are:

Hammond, an economist and author of a new report on the international tobacco industry, said: “Big Tobacco has gone global to make up for declining sales in the United States. These companies now sell more cigarettes abroad than they do in the United States. Largely because of this overseas expansion, the United Nations predicts that the number of people dying each year from tobacco-related disease will rise from the current 3.5 million to 10 million by the year 2025 — or one hundred million people over the next 30 years. How could the attorneys general possibly ignore these facts?”

Licavoli, associate executive director of the American Lung Association of San Francisco, said that the tobacco industry “must take responsibility for the death and disease it is causing overseas. It is irresponsible of the attorneys general to let Big Tobacco off the hook. Any settlement must protect public health both in the United States and abroad.”

Weissman, co-director of Essential Action, a D.C.-based corporate accountability group affiliated with Ralph Nader, said: “Big Tobacco’s goal with the state settlement is to calm things at home so it can expand massively abroad. Because the state attorneys general have the option of continuing to prosecute their cases on a state-by-state basis, any all-at-once attorneys general settlement must be held to the highest standard. Any settlement that fails to include provisions to promote international tobacco control falls far short of that standard.”

For more information, contact the Institute for Public Accuracy: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167