Philip Morris USA (and its Altria parent company) likes to claim that it is a changed, responsible company focused on developing “less risky tobacco products,” but the company’s actions show that it hasn’t changed at all and is promoting cigarette sales as aggressively as ever.

As reported by Convenience Store News, Altria/Philip Morris executives spoke at a consumer analyst conference in February and touted plans to boost cigarette sales, especially of Marlboro, which is the most popular cigarette brand among youth smokers. Philip Morris is even working to greatly expand the geographic reach of a relatively new cigarette brand called Nat’s. No responsible company would be seeking to increase sales of a product that kills nearly half a million Americans each year, let alone promote a new cigarette brand that will addict and kill even more.

Philip Morris should be judged by its actions, not its word. The company’s actions show that its talk of less risky products is a smokescreen to hide the fact that its main business is to sell cigarettes and its goal is to expand the market for cigarettes, not shrink it. The evidence is clear: Philip Morris is a primary cause of the tobacco problem, not part of the solution.

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