NEW YORK: Philip Morris International (PMI) has admitted it may
have damaged its PR program with a study on the positive financial
impact of smoking in the Czech Republic.
The Wall Street Journal broke the story on July 16 that a PMI report,
commissioned by local company officials, concluded that smoking saved
the Czech government 5.82 billion koruna ($147.1 million)
annually, thanks to premature death.
The result has been a nightmare for a company that has worked so hard to
improve its image amidst of classaction lawsuits and sky-high taxes.
When asked if the incident will hurt PMI's PR strategy, Bobby Kaplan,
director of communications, said, "It certainly doesn't help. We
sincerely regret that it was ever done."
PMI's president wrote apologetic letters to the Czech health minister
and chairman of parliament.
PMI's official statement read, "All of us at Philip Morris ... are
extremely sorry for this. No one benefits from the very real, serious
and significant diseases caused by smoking."