Philip Morris has launched a web site and $100 million advertising campaign, presumably to improve their image.  More information on this is given in an October 13, 1999 Associated Press story by business reporter Skip Wollenberg.   Some of their television campaign includes footage from PM films apparently shown at PM shareholder meetings, portraying the company as caring about the community.

Part of the campaign embraces the idea that cigarettes may be addictive, and may cause serious illness. Dr. David Kessler, now dean of Yale Medical School, but formerly the head of the Food and Drug Administration,  is quoted from his appearance on ABC's  Good Morning America:

"It may just be a PR effort.  But it has important consequences.  They are saying nicotine is an addictive product. Now they should agree to FDA regulation. ... What other addictive substance is not regulated by the FDA?"
The anti-FDA regulation lawsuits filed by the tobacco companies will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court on December 1, 1999.

Another motive for the web site has emerged.  In an October 15, 1999 article in Florida's Naples Daily News, Associated Press writer Rachel La Corte reported that in the first class action trial brought on behalf of smokers, Stanley Rosenblatt, attorney for the smokers, said the tobacco company is trying to influence jurors, and has broken the gag order imposed by the judge.

{Philip Morris lead attorney Dan] Webb said he expected the smokers' attorney Stanley Rosenblatt "to be applauding Philip Morris."

Rosenblatt angrily disagreed in court as he asked Circuit Judge Robert Kaye to rule the cigarette maker violated the gag order. "When a company admits they make a product which is addictive and kills people and then goes out with the objective to sell as much of this product as they possibly can, that's hardly reason to applaud," Rosenblatt said.  "It's a reason for shame. You don't deserve any applause."

Philip Morris' declarations follow years in which the company fiercely argued with government and medical authorities about the risks of smoking.  The same arguments were used by the industry in the opening phase of the first class-action case by smokers to make it to trial.  Seeking equal Internet time, Rosenblatt said, "If they're permitted to have a Web site, then the (smokers') class wants a Web site. This cannot be a one-way street."

Kaye noted he had advised jurors to avoid news coverage and felt that covered the Internet as well. In July, jurors found the nation's five largest cigarette makers and industry groups had produced a defective and deadly product.  The same jury is to determine whether damages are appropriate for individual smokers. The second phase is to begin Nov. 1.

The 3rd District Court of Appeal will hear oral arguments Wednesday on the procedure for settling damage claims for up to 500,000 sick Florida smokers.

Nowhere in these articles does Philip Morris address: The Philip Morris web site is trying to have its cake and eat it too.  They are saying that while Environmental Tobacco Smoke may be a cause of disease, and should be "minimized" especially where children are, they don't want anyone to legislate this, and they apparently are not ready to call off their lawsuit challenge of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Report which labeled Environmental Tobacco Smoke as a Class A carcinogen..

Please see Excuses, Excuses, Excuses.

[VAGASP]Updated 24 January 2006