Environmental initiatives are often great. But when implemented by Altria’s Philip Morris USA, they beg the question of why and if a tobacco company can in fact lessen its environmental footprint.
First, are they genuine? While Altria failed to comment, Danny McGoldrick, Vice President of the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, said the tobacco companies have a history of trying to shape their images with marketing ploys, “going green” is nothing new.
"The target isn’t kids or smokers, and the objective isn’t to reduce smoking, the target is always policy makers and the objective is to stop policy makers from increasing tobacco taxes, passing smoke free laws, or funding tobacco cessation programs that we know work- their own documents tell us this", McGoldrick said.
But the issue is not just about why Altria is going green, but is it really making a difference? Altria says it is, the tobacco company has reduced their packaging waste, water and emissions the last four years.
Eric Asche, Senior Vice President of Marketing at the American Legacy Foundation said that while reducing one's foot print is great, it does not balance out the 400,000 lives lost to tobacco every year or the 1,200 lost every day.
“Our job is to continue to point at what they are really up to and that is all the while they are trying to manufacture this new image- they are still addicting our kids and they are still selling a deadly product", said McGoldrick.