Philip Morris Web Site Prompts American Cancer Society Reaction; Dissemination of Cancer Information Applauded, Motive Questioned
The American Cancer Society, the nation's leading voluntary health agency, today reacted to the news that cigarette maker Philip Morris Cos. has launched a new internet site devoted largely to health information about tobacco use.
The web site, in which Philip Morris admits to ``overwhelming medical and scientific consensus that cigarette smoking causes'' diseases including lung cancer, provides detailed health information about tobacco use and includes a direct link the American Cancer Society internet site.
``The American Cancer Society is the preeminent source of unbiased information about cancer and its causes,'' said Harmon J. Eyre, M.D., executive vice president for research and medical affairs for the two million member Society. ``Therefore, we obviously applaud any and all efforts to educate the general public about the health hazards of tobacco. However, we repudiate the transparent motives behind Big Tobacco's attempt to legitimize itself by pretending to associate with the public health community. Our credibility is not for sale at any price.''
Philip Morris is the latest cigarette manufacturer to launch a new Internet site as part of what is believed to be an industry makeover, focused on corporate philanthropy and public health education. Earlier this week, the Lorillard Tobacco Company launched its own new web site, and last year Brown & Williamson Tobacco changed its corporate site in what is believed to be an effort to put a ``friendlier face'' on the industry. R.J. Reynolds is expected to do the same, according to news reports.
The American Cancer Society is the nationwide community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives and diminishing suffering from cancer, through research, education, advocacy and service.