Even Neutral Switzerland Can’t Stomach Philip Morris International Inc. (NYSE:PM); Swiss “Dumped” Sponsorship With Tobacco Giant at Cost of CHF1.8 Million
WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 8, 2019) – Even Switzerland, famous for hundreds of years for its neutrality and ability to cooperate with virtually everyone, has drawn the line when it comes to tobacco giant Phillip Morris.
As the Swiss themselves reported it, the country was forced to "dump" its previous agreement to have Philip Morris serve as a sponsor of the Swiss pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai.
As its Foreign Minister, Ignazio Cassis, explained it after his plans for sponsorship were met with an international wave of very negative publicity, and criticism from major health organizations, it is "an industry sector which has been criticized from all sides."
He also said that he had to renege so that Switzerland would remain "in line with the times."
As a result of this embarrassment, Switzerland says it will now have to review and revise its rules regarding sponsorship.
Its Parliament had agreed to pay for a Swiss pavilion in Dubai for Expo 2020 at an estimated cost of CHF15 million ($15.1 million), with half of the cost to be provided by private companies. It had agreed to permit tobacco giant Philip Morris to be one of those private co-sponsors if it would chip in CHF1.8 million.
But apparently the loss of face wasn't worth almost 2 million CHF to this tiny country, despite its reputation for being willing to establish relationships with almost anyone.
Interestingly, Switzerland houses the headquarters of Philip Morris International (Marlboro, Chesterfield, Muratti) and Japan Tobacco International (Camel, Winston, Mild Seven),
It is also the home to large offices of British American Tobacco (Pall Mall, Dunhill, Lucky Strike).
Perhaps in part for that reason, Switzerland is one of only three European countries that has so far refused to ratify the world's first international antismoking and nonsmokers' rights treaty, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control [FCTC].
For all of these many reasons, it has been normal and expected that, in the past, Switzerland has not joined most of the world in opposing smoking and the spread of nicotine addiction.
So this decision is another recent example of how the world is increasingly becoming even more firmly united against the tobacco giant industry which kills more than 8 million people each year - including about 1.2 million who are innocent nonsmokers who inhaled the smoke of others - and cost $1.4 trillion annually, says Banzhaf.
The law professor, who has been called "The Man Behind The Ban on Cigarette Commercials," "The Law Professor Who Masterminded Litigation Against the Tobacco Industry," and "a Driving Force Behind the Lawsuits That Have Cost Tobacco Companies Billions of Dollars," is pleased with this important development.