Tobacco: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)
tobaccoit used to be a cornerstone of American life it was how we knew sex was over before the female orgasm was invented even if you didn't smoke you could not escape those who did cigarettes were in the hands of trusted news men beloved cartoon characters and cowboys in TV commercials you've had your supper and coffee the horses are settling down you settle back you start to think about Saturday night in town come to where the flavor is is the iconic Marlboro Man as synonymous with ruggedness and freedom as he was with dying from smoking-related diseases because and this is true that's what happened to at least four of the actors who played him for dead actors it's like if there was a gas leak on whose line is it anyway you could have mitt it is weird seeing those cigarette ads now and that's because for the past half century America has steadily limited how
tobaccocompanies are able to behave we've put warning labels on packaging and banned cigarette ads from TV all while
tobaccoexecutives defended themselves against hard public health questions it's true the babies born from women who smoke are smaller but they're just as healthy as the babies Lord for women pregnant ladies enough cigarettes and you're pretty much just shooting out Lego babies they fit in Star Wars toys who wouldn't want that that's adorable by the late 90s the regulations were such that
tobaccocompanies here voluntarily retired not just the Marlboro Man but...
also Joe Camel who people had ridiculously accused of being targeted at children just because he was an adorable cartoon camel who dressed like the Fonz and smoked all these restrictions help lower smoking rates in the u.s. from about 43 percent in 1965 to 18 percent today which you would assume would decimate the American
tobaccoindustry which is what makes this clip from 2008 so surprising
tobaccois what you might call smoking hot is this the best time ever to be a
tobaccofarm probably most profitable Wow so it's an aging product that's decreasing in popularity and yet somehow it just can't stop making money it's basically the agricultural equivalent of you two now now one of the reasons one of the reasons for this might be the while Americans are smoking less in some parts of the world's people are smoking more to an occasionally shocking extent you might remember this viral video video of this two-year-old boy he's just puffing away on a cigarette in Indonesia and it's gone completely viral the mom says he is totally addicted and if he doesn't get the smokes he gets angry he starts banging his head on the wall yeah of course he gets mad when you take away his smokes he thinks they're gone he doesn't have object permanence yet the smoking baby was such a media sensation news crews from across the world attempted to find him just across this bridge lies the small fishing village that is home to the smoking baby we briefly caught up...
with Aldi and his mother Diana at the airport flanked by a local TV crew are you Aldi hi I'm Dan are you doing a little dude holy just look at that kid he's his own Rat Pack all he's missing is three other kids dressed like him and a casino and this is where this story gets really interesting because that baby's favorite brand of cigarettes was a mild which is owned by Philip Morris International the company that sells Philip Morris brands everywhere but america they like other multinational companies have flocked to indonesia a market where two-thirds of adult males smoke and there are very few restrictions and I do mean very few this really brings home the point this is the entrance to a school and come with me just a few steps away from the entrance there is this kiosk that is sponsored by marlboro lights and at this kiosk a student can come and buy an individual cigarette they're only a dime apiece and they even have a lighter on a string of course the lighters on a string what kind of irresponsible cigarette vendor outside of school would let a child walk away with a lighter they're dangerous think about it just think about that and look Indonesia is far from the only country where Philip Morris International or PMI has expanded they own seven of the world's top 15 international brands including Marlboro and recently Marlboro has boosted its global market share thanks to its worldwide don't be a maybe be Marlboro campaign and if you're...
thinking what the factors don't be a maybe mean please let this video by the people responsible for the campaign explain it to you as a brand Marlboro was not resonating with adult smokers even though its values of freedom authenticity and master of destiny work smokers missed the essence of the cowboy which led us to our opportunity eliminate the word maybe for more smokers vocabulary to become the catalyst that inspires smokers from just thinking about life to taking the lead in their life to live the Marlboro values to be true and forever that is a pile of horseshit even Don Draper looks at that ad and goes pull it back a little bit these are cigarettes we're talking about not Jesus now now countries can try to counteract the influence of that kind of marketing but if
tobaccocompanies feel too threatened they'll put them through legal hell let me take you on a world tour of how they attack laws intended to protect public health because it's kind of amazing let's start in Australia in 2011 they passed a plain packaging law and what that means is this cigarettes come in packaging like this pretty drab coloring messaging the Australian government writes pictures it chooses the brand name they're really relegated to the bottom Australia's plain packaging law bans
tobaccocompany branding from packaging and replaced it with upsetting photos such as the toe tack on a corpse the cancerous mouth the nightmarish eyeball or the diseased lung now oh yeah...
yes I'm pretty sure I would find a healthy lung disgusting but but that thing does look like you're trying to breathe through baked ziti so just take take it out just take take it down perhaps unsurprisingly since this law was implemented total consumption of
tobaccoand cigarettes in Australia fell to record lows and nightmares about eyeballs have risen to record highs take it down take down the demon eye to get these laws though Australia's had to run a gamut of lawsuits first to
tobaccocompanies sued Australia in its highest court to stop them the result was a little surprising as Australia's attorney-general let everyone know I'm delighted to be able to say that we have won that legal action and just as some icing on the cake it seems that the big
tobaccocompanies will also be required to pay the government's cost yes even if that little guy is the sixth largest country in the world in terms of land mass and and the
tobaccocompanies didn't just lose the judges caught their case delusive under alien synthetic and said it had fatal defects which sounds a little like the early reviews of NBC's The Slap what is this thing how long am I supposed to watch it for which one is the slap Australia's legal troubles were just beginning because then Philip Morris Asia got involved the company is threatening to take the Australian government to an international court and says that removing brands from cigarette packs will lower the value of its...
trademark and intellectual property that's right a company was able to sue a country over a public health measure through an international court how the is that possible well it's really a simple explanation they did it by digging up in 1993 trade agreement between Australia and Hong Kong which had a provision that Australia couldn't seize Hong kong-based company's property so nine months before the lawsuit started PMI put its Australian business in the hands of its Hong kong-based Philip Morris Asia division and then they sued claiming that the seized property in question were the trademarks on their cigarette packages and you've got to give it to them that's impressive someone should really give those lawyers a pat on the back and a punch in the face but flat on the back first punch punch little pat big pucks that's what that leads but but wait there is more here because you will never guess who else is coming after Australia three governments Honduras the Dominican Republic and Ukraine have five complaints with the World Trade Organization against Australia's plain packaging laws that's right Ukraine is charging Australia with hurting its
tobaccoexports something which was a bit of a surprise to a Ukrainian Member of Parliament when I first read about the position of the government it seems to be a joke because we have a zero trade exchange between Australian Ukraine of any
tobaccoGoods 0 right 0 so Ukraine is inserting themselves into...
something they have nothing to do with they're taking the kanye west approach to international traders the truth is as you have probably guessed by now
tobaccocompanies have encouraged these suits even covering some of the legal costs meaning the
tobaccoindustry is treating Ukraine like a stage parent treats a child in a beauty pageant although no brandy wants to do it yes I paid for an outfit and I pushed her onto the stage but this was all her idea and I swear to god brandy if you drop that flaming baton you are king walking home you walk home brandy
tobaccocompanies aren't just going after big countries like Australia Philip Morris has also launched a legal challenge against the small South American country of Uruguay for damaging its business prospects Uruguay has a population of just three and a half million people and is a relatively tiny cigarette market that's right Philip Morris International is currently suing Uruguay a country that you think about so little that you didn't even notice that that's not Uruguay this is Yoruba nine years ago your guys started introducing increasingly larger health warnings smoking rates dropped and uruguayan like the laws with 68% of smokers saying that they should be stronger but just because they wanted it hasn't stopped PMI from suing them for the past five years and that's a lot for a small country to take on luckily they have had help the way of Uruguay has received the support of the World Health...
Organization and the Pan American Health Organization as well as the mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg who donated $500,000 for payment of attorneys fees the legal fees were getting so expensive they had to take money from Michael Bloomberg on the scale of how shitty that has got to feel it's just barely higher than borrowing money from your ex-girlfriends current boyfriend's stepdad and enforcing Uruguay to do that was not bad enough let me tell you what Philip Morris International has done to Togo Togo is one of the ten poorest countries on earth and they recently unveiled some new
tobaccolaws ludo goo Togo is setting conditions on the sale of
tobaccostarting on September 1st 2014 packs of cigarettes sold in Togo must bear warnings in French AV and kPa about the health risk associated with a conception of
tobacconow a first written warning sound great until you learn that 40% of the adult population of Togo is illiterate which is why some members of the Togolese government wanted something more like Australia's ziti lung packaging take it down take take it down it's still disgusting but when they got wind of this Philip Morris International a company with annual net revenues of 80 billion dollars basically threatened to sue Togo whose entire GDP is 4.3 billion and when your GDP is only a couple of billion more than the box office of Avatar a protracted legal case it's not really what you need now we actually reached out to Togo and ask to see...
their correspondence with the
tobaccocompanies and they gave us this letter EMI we had to translate it from French but it was worth it because this thing is almost comically appalled appalling it informs Togo that plain packaging laws would result in an incalculable amount of international trade litigation suggesting Togo would lose any legal challenge by citing among other things an Australian High Court decision which they write concluded that plain packaging constitutes a substantial privation of property rights now the court case they're referring to is the one from earlier you remember the one
tobaccocompanies lost so badly they had to cover the court costs and yet they quote the one judge in that case who ruled in favor of
tobaccoignoring the other six who called their case if you remember delusive unreal and synthetic and saying it had fatal defects that's like when a shitty movie engineers a good review out of a bad one like Mordecai is a pile of dot dot dot great bits letter is and yet Togo justifiably terrified by threats of billion dollar settlements backed down from a public health law that many people wanted and it's not just Togo British American
Tobaccosent a similar letter to Namibia and one of their subsidiaries sent one to the Solomon Islands a country with a population of 600,000 at this point it's safe to say if you live in an apartment with at least two other people and you asked one of them to please smoke outside you can look forward...
to a letter from a
tobaccocompany very soon look I could get angry and I could call
tobaccocompanies or monsters or open sores on Satan's dick but instead instead instead let's rise above it and let's try and broker peace because it's clear what each side wants countries want to warn their citizens about the health dangers of smoking
tobaccocompanies want to be able to present branded images that they have spent time and money to cultivate so may I suggest a compromise I present to you the new face of Marlboro Jeff the diseased lung in a cowboy hat we are offering two F to you Philip Morris International to use as you wish put him on your billboards put him on some ads in fact and don't be mad we've we've already started doing that for you this is an actual billboards that is in Montevideo right now and people seem to like it there because they like it of course they look everyone loves Jeff the diseased lung in a cowboy hat oh one more thing um to be completely honest we didn't just do it in Uruguay because we also and don't be mad we made some Jeff branded t-shirts and we ship them to Togo yesterday where they've been quite a hit and if you don't believe me check this out Jeff's already out there you just need to claim him our lawyers unlike yours will not sue and and I know our viewers would love to help you get the message out there in fact you can tweet about Jeff using the hashtag Jeff we can to get in trending...
worldwide and get pmos attention post Jeff's photo on Google+ and tag him Mull bruh which might push him to the top of Marlboros Google Image Search we can do this everyone don't be a maybe about this because he's definitely suffering from emphysema on your stress enough you do not market to children kids love Jeff don't you kids you