The 2007 shareholders' meeting of
American Tobacco Company
Tobacco Company shareholders' meeting
was held in Winston-Salem,
on Friday, May 11th, 2007, 9:00 am Eastern Time,
in the Reynolds
American Plaza Building at RAI's corporate offices, 401 North Main
and for the third
year in a row, it was held in a smoke-free auditorium.
2007 meeting was not web cast, and
Reynolds does not provide a
transcription except of the opening statement of beliefs by the CEO
the accounts below of the questions asked
and the comments made in response by Susan Ivey
are given to best of
the recollection of those contributing to this record.
Reasons why activists come to these shareholder
web pages in this web
site discuss past shareholder meetings.
Basically, in the opinion of
the editor of this web site, it
boils down to this:
come to the meetings out of a moral conviction, because they care about
LIFE. Life is
important. Choice is important, and there is NO choice where
addiction is concerned.
tobacco industry is about DEATH and ADDICTION and the MONEY and POWER
tobacco brings them over LIVES and NATIONS.
money tobacco companies make can be used to infiltrate the economies
of all nations of the world and dominate and control the lives and
economies of the people within those countries. The motto of Philip
Morris, after all, is "We came, we saw, we conquered."
it "evil" to continue to manufacture and market and promote
products which you admit will addict and sicken and ultimately kill
those who use these products, as well as their unborn, as well as
those around them, as well as the environment? The answer is YES, it
is evil -- it is immoral -- it is unethical -- it is wrong -- it is
is unhealthy, wrong, immoral, and destroys families, cultures, and
the environment. It eliminates land for
farming food and growing forests. Wildlife, the soil, rivers, and
ground water are all contaminated and destroyed by the runoff from
tobacco factories, and by the chemicals used in growing tobacco.
The field and factory workers may be damaged through their contact
with nicotine and the chemicals in the growing and the manufacturing
process, and the radioactivity in the tobacco leaves.
companies in the past have withdrawn or canceled their products which
caused illness or death. But not the tobacco companies. Indeed,
when activists in 2007 asked in a resolution to Philip Morris/Altria
and in a question to Reynolds American that these tobacco companies
be responsible and stop the addiction and deaths by ceasing their
manufacture and marketing of tobacco products, this was refused
absolutely by both companies.
court of law (US Judge Gladys Kessler, August, 2006) has already
found them guilty of deceiving the public and their consumers, and of
violating racketeering laws. Philip Morris/Altria and Reynolds
American -- tobacco companies -- are adjudicated racketeers.
now the tobacco executives and their companies are seeking to rent
even more scientists to make it appear that they want to lessen the
destruction of the tobacco products.
also are renting former health spokespersons to help legislate a
rating of tobacco products as to which product will kill the consumer
Someday, in a court somewhere,
executives will be judged for all their crimes
against life in general,
-- including their own employees and their customers,
against the land
that could have grown food for the hungry, and forests for the wildlife,
against the bees
insecticide) and other
streams and waters, and the environment.
the meantime, the activists come to speak out against the immorality
and evil of
the tobacco industry, and to
work for justice, for life.
The scene is
The RJ Reynolds building where the meeting is held
is not the
factory, but a plush, executive offices building in the heart of
Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Entering through the glass doors
building, one registers at the tables, and proceeds to security who
check on purses or brief cases and any carried coats and jackets.
Activists who come because of their moral commitment
to the sanctity of life walk in and discover that they are immediately
recognized. During the meeting, a company photographer snaps
photographs of each speaker. A video tape is apparently made of
the meeting for company use.
There is a poster easel in the lobby announcing that
as a courtesy
to non-smoking shareholders, the meeting in the auditorium will be
no-smoking. Beverages are available, and one walks up the steps
second floor for the meeting.
The auditorium is divided into three main audience
sections, with two aisles, and standing microphones for those who wish
to speak to the CEO and board members.
From the Reynolds American web site, here are excerpts of the remarks
of Susan Ivey, CEO.
"We Believe" remarks are quite revealing of the way in which evil can
justify its perpetuation.
-- Remarks about what they will support and oppose in
no-smoking laws, never of course admitting that secondhand smoke is
harmful and kills people.
-- Remarks about smoking causing disease, and the role of nicotine.
spinning harm, implying that it would be helpful to public health to
research time and money rating the relative risk of cigarettes, cigars,
smokeless tobacco, etc. -- what categories might be used: which
kills you more quickly, and with less pain, which ignites faster and
longer causing more fires, which addicts you more quickly, etc.
Underlining, colors, and Editor's
Notes are added for emphasis and explanation.
"... So 2006 was a
year in which Reynolds American continued to build on
its success and fortify its foundation for long-term growth.
... So -- as an
employee and a shareholder -- I'm delighted to say that
Reynolds American's business model is driving growth and delivering
Note: In order to drive growth and deliver results, i.e., more
profit for the company and shareholders, more people must buy the
products, become addicted, and die. Success for Reynolds American
is built on the addiction and death of its consumers.]
So that's what we're achieving. Now, let's
look at how we operate. What I'd like to focus on for the
few minutes is the philosophical foundation for Reynolds American's
Reynolds American is committed to building value
through responsible growth. And I emphasize the word
'responsible' because we take that very seriously in terms of the
products our companies manufacture and market, and in terms of the
social, legal and political environments within which they operate.
Reynolds American's scorecard for 2006 includes
significant achievements stemming from our core commitment to
* We continue to fulfill our commitment to
shareholders by delivering superior returns on their investments;
* We enhanced our commitment
citizenship, with RJ.
Reynolds holding dialogues with key stakeholders,
and our companies, and their customers.
Note: "Key stakeholders" are not listed.]
Last year, our company, and the industry, saw
continued progress in the external environment. On the legal
front, the environment continued to improve with favorable developments
in the Engle, DOJ [US Department of Justice], and lights class-action
cases. In fact, we recently received the refund of our $100
million Engle bond.
Note: This overlooks the fact the in the DOJ case, they were
found to have lied to their consumers and the public, to have distorted
science for their own purposes, and to be adjudicated racketeers.]
And we're working to make meaningful progress in the
regulatory arena, as well.
As you know, Congress introduced bills in February
that would give the FDA [US Food and Drug Administration] control of
the domestic tobacco industry. And the Senate held a hearing on
this proposal. The legislation that was introduced this year is
basically the same legislation that's been repeatedly rejected for the
past decade. And, interestingly, the FDA commissioner is among
those who have voiced opposition to the current proposals.
As we said when these bills were introduced, we
continue to believe that the time has come for government, industry and
others to work together to resolve the contentious issues surrounding
the use and marketing of tobacco products. We welcome the
opportunity for broad-based discussion to determine effective public
policy. And we remain hopeful that objective, good-faith
discussions can lead to a reasonable and realistic national regulatory
Our position is clear. As we've stated before:
* We would support legislation
under which tobacco products remain legal, consumer-acceptable and
regulated in a reasonable and consistent manner;
* We would support legislation
that permits effective competition, allows for communication and
interaction with adult tobacco users regarding their brand choices, and
which further minimizes exposure of minors to tobacco marketing; and
* We would oppose
legislation that does not include these provisions or which provides
any of our competitors with an unfair advantage.
And we hope we can make progress on this front this
Our position concerning the FDA bills, as well as
our positions concerning smoking bans and other efforts at the state
and local levels, are governed by a set of core principles and beliefs
that guide the way we conduct our business.
Our Guiding Principles and
Beliefs detail our
commitment to operate our businesses in a responsible manner that best
balances the desires of our many stakeholders. And they provide a
framework that guides our actions in five areas that are critical to
both our company and our society:
* Tobacco Use and Health;
* Tobacco Regulation;
* Tobacco Consumers;
* Harm Reduction; and
* Marketing and Communication.
As you'll see, our Guiding
Principles and Beliefs
closely align with the beliefs and interests of our society as a whole.
Note: This is not really true, but Reynolds is not known for
Let's start by looking at Tobacco Use and Health.
First, and foremost, we believe
* 'Smoking causes serious disease.'
Most scientists and public health officials believe that smoking is THE
biggest public health threat in our society today. But most of
them also agree that prohibition is not the solution. So here's
the dilemma we continue to face: How do we minimize the potential
for public harm while preserving the rights of adults to enjoy the
pleasures that some
find in tobacco?
That question has arisen time and again in every part of the world for
hundreds of years. There
are no easy answers. But our
guiding principles and beliefs represent a rational, reasonable, and
responsible approach to balancing both sides.
Note: Actually, there is a simple answer.
If you know that the product you are making is addictive, and you know
that it hurts and kills people who use it, you could do the
responsible, moral, and health-considerate thing, and stop making an
addictive lethal product. Also, the issue of prohibition
has been distorted by the tobacco industry, just as they have,
according to a court of law, distorted scientific facts.]
So in terms of Tobacco Use and Health, we share the beliefs voiced by
many scientists and policy advocates regarding public health.
Note: Are those scientists and policy advocates referred to ones
that have been rented by Reynolds?]
We believe that:
* 'Smoking causes serious disease.'
Note: Now there's a no-brainer. It also causes suffering,
death, gum disease, loss of teeth, wrinkles, bad breath, etc., death
being the most serious of all. Note that she does not talk about
the use of smokeless tobacco and the cancers and illness and death it
causes. Ask yourself why.]
*'Nicotine in tobacco products is addictive but
is not considered a
significant threat to health.'
Note: At this point, Anne Morrow Donley laughed out loud,
because, she said later to colleagues, it was so absolutely ridiculous,
and such a lie. Death is a very significant threat to health, and
nicotine kills. Dictionary definitions of nicotine and the use of
nicotine over many years as an insecticide all tout it as a poison --
it kills. In tobacco products, it addicts and kills.
Tobacco leaves are also radioactive.
Apparently, it was Antonio Monteiro de
one of the Board Members of Reynolds American, and with the Brazilian
subsidiary of BAT (British American Tobacco owns about 45% of Reynolds
American) -- who then stood up, turned around and glared at Anne
Morrow Donley, who was sitting two rows behind the Board Members.]
[Further Editor's Note:
Note: At this 2007 Reynolds American shareholder meeting on May 11, 2007, in
Winston-Salem, North Carolina,
as CEO Susan Ivey listed a set of "Beliefs", one of which begins, "We
believe that nicotine is addictive ..." the company
lawyers were demanding a
mental health exam be given to an RJR customer who states she was
addicted to RJR cigarettes which contain nicotine.]
We believe that:
* 'No tobacco product has been shown to be safe.'
Note: But they still manufacture, market, promote, and defend
their tobacco products in courts of law.]
And we believe that:
* 'An individual's level of risk for serious disease is
significantly affected by the type of tobacco product used as well as
the manner and frequency of use.'
Note: This is a very dangerous statement, and should send
chills down the spines of everyone concerned about life and health.]
These principles inform, and form the foundation for, the rest of our
beliefs. So let's look at what we believe in terms of Tobacco
Regulation. As I've already noted, we believe that:
* 'Tobacco products should be regulated in a
reasonable and consistent manner, and they should remain legal and
consumer-acceptable. The prohibition, in any form, of tobacco
products is neither practical nor desirable.'
We believe that:
* 'Communication and interaction with adult tobacco
users regarding their brand choices is essential for effective
And we believe that:
* 'Resolving the long-standing controversies
regarding the marketing and use of tobacco products in an open and
objective manner is critical to establishing an acceptable and
cooperative environment for all.'
Finally, regarding Tobacco Regulation, we believe that:
'Smoking restrictions should
exempt adult venues
such as bars and taverns.'
Note: See below.]
want to talk about that last one for a minute because I think it
exemplifies the balanced and
responsible approach that Reynolds
American takes concerning the core issues that affect our businesses.
Note: Do responsible businesses continue to addict and kill
their consumers, and never apologize, but only blame the victim?]
We recognize and respect the fact that many people prefer to work,
shop, and dine in smoke-free environments. And we believe that
people should rely on the conclusions of the Surgeon General and other
health authorities when making any decisions regarding smoking and
Note: Notice that not once, not once, does Susan Ivey say
that Reynolds American
or RJ. Reynolds or any other part of the company "believes"
that secondhand smoke causes serious disease. Not once.]
So that brings us back to the tobacco dilemma: How do we minimize
the potential for public harm while preserving the rights of adults to
enjoy the pleasures that some
find in tobacco?
Note: "Some" -- and the others smoke or chew or whatever, why?]
In our opinion, the
best way to do that is to make sure that any
proposals to restrict or ban smoking provide for common-sense
exemptions that allow the owners of bars, taverns, and other
age-restricted venues the choice to set their own smoking policy.
Note: Owners of bars, taverns, restaurants, etc. must obey
many health laws and regulations. Washing the hands after using
the toilet is not left to the whim of the owner, but it is a health
regulation. Refrigerating the chicken salad is not left to the
whim of the owner.
Banning smoking is done to protect people from the
deadly toxic fumes of secondhand smoke. Also, many restaurants
have ABC licenses, so they might have a bar within the restaurant,
which might make them an "adult venue" or divide the building into
smoking and no-smoking, but
smoke does not read signs and travels. So is Reynolds hoping to
make everyone -- smokers and nonsmokers -- a smoker, first hand or
We do not oppose legislative
proposals that ban smoking in offices,
shopping centers, restaurants, and other unrestricted areas. But
we do believe that age-restricted venues where adults gather to
age-restricted products, like alcohol, should also permit adults to
enjoy other age-restricted products, like tobacco, if that's the wish
of the establishment's owner. Banning the use of a legal
age-restricted product in age-restricted establishments infringes on
adult choice, and quite frankly, defies common sense.
Note: Please see above. Common sense is not something most
people associate with tobacco companies. Wouldn't common sense
suggest that companies should not make products which kill their
customers when those products are used as intended?]
And that brings us to our Guiding
Principles and Beliefs concerning
Note: "Beliefs", not documented facts, but "Beliefs".
These words are from an adjudicated racketeer.
Consider also the lack of compassion
for consumers -- our product may kill you, and we'll never say we're
sorry, and we won't stop making addictive and lethal products.]
As I said, we believe
* 'Individuals should rely on the
conclusions of the U.S. Surgeon
General, the Centers for Disease Control, and other public health and
medical officials when making decisions regarding smoking.'
Note: Would you say that naturally every child and adult
considers this before
buying the shiny packages of the addictive and lethal tobacco
products? Would you say that if the manufacturer makes it, and
the government allows
them to sell it, there is an unspoken stamp of government and health
approval on the products in the minds of many would-be consumers?]
We further believe that:
* 'The best course of action for tobacco users concerned about
their health is to quit.'
Note: Even better for the health of people, animals, bees,
and other living things, would be for the tobacco manufacturers to
quit making and marketing tobacco products. Perhaps they
addicted to money and power?]
* 'Minors should never use tobacco products, and adults who do
not use or have quit using tobacco products should not start.'
* Adults who smoke should avoid exposing minors to secondhand
Note: What about exposing other adults to secondhand smoke,
including employees of offices, restaurants, bars, etc.?]
Our beliefs in this area are
consistent with the beliefs of our society
as a whole.
Note: This overlooks, for
example, not exposing employees and other adults to smoke. Judge
Gladys Kessler in 2006 noted that Reynolds, and the other tobacco
companies in the lawsuit, had lied to their consumers and to the
public, and all appearances would make it seem that they continue to
And we are committed
to operating our businesses in a
manner that is consistent with these beliefs. Which brings us to
the issue of Harm Reduction.
Reynolds American and its operating companies believe that:
* 'Decreasing the health risks and
harm directly associated with
the use of tobacco products is in everyone's best interest.'
Note: The best way to reduce the health risks is to
eliminate the nicotine and the carcinogens and the nitrosamines, and
the ammonia, and the radioactivity, and more simply, just stop making
and marketing and promoting the deadly tobacco products.]
We believe that:
* 'Manufacturers, working in conjunction with governments, public
health authorities, and tobacco producers, should strive to reduce the
harm caused by the use of tobacco products.'
Note: The best way to reduce the harm caused by the use of
tobacco products is to stop making and marketing the tobacco
products. A no-brainer for anyone with moral convictions.]
* 'Public policy should encourage the development of tobacco
products that reduce harm or relative risk of serious disease.'
Note: Again, the manufacturer is talking about public
policy, and not
talking about how responsibility begins with the manufacturer, who
could cease making addictive and
lethal products which addict and kill when used as intended. The
sheer arrogance of these statements is appalling.]
* 'Public policy should require population -- and science-based
standards that allow for consistent, accurate and verified
communication about reduced harm and the relative risks of tobacco
Note: This would apparently allow them untold harm in
marketing, and life in general. Also, the judge in 2006 noted
that they had distorted science for their own purposes. Why
should we think they have changed their ways when they still make
products that addict and kill?]
We further believe that:
* 'Adult tobacco consumers should have access to a range of
tobacco, nicotine, and cessation products, and should be given
information in order to make an
informed choice on the relative risks
of each product.'
Note: And they are apparently ready to sell you every one
Adults should have the right to make informed choices about the risks
they do or do not want to take. And we believe that the
manufacturers of products
that present health risks have a
responsibility to help the government provide the public with the
information necessary to make informed choices.
Note: Note the use of the words "products that present
health risks" -- as in killing you. Not as in, be careful how you
use this ladder and don't fall off of it. But that tobacco
products will addict and kill you if you use them as intended to be
used. This statement would apparently seek to remove the
responsibility from the
shoulders and back of the manufacturers and instead blame the victim
for using the product.]
Which brings me to the fifth and final area of our Guiding Principles
and Beliefs -- Marketing and Communication. I think the points
I've already made should clarify why we are guided by the following
We believe that:
* 'Marketing standards for tobacco products should minimize the
exposure of minors to tobacco advertising, be consistent with
constitutional protections and provide information allowing adults to
make an informed choice.'
Note: "Informed choice" -- Addiction is not an informed
* 'Public policy
should allow communication of the relative risks
of tobacco products and encourage tobacco users to switch to lower-risk
Note: Are they suggesting that they would want to sell you
both the tough stuff that kills you immediately and the softer stuff
that kills you next week?]
And finally, we believe that:
treatment (in terms of labeling, adult consumer
communication, tax rates, etc.) should be given to tobacco products or
categories established through scientific evaluation to be
significantly less harmful than other available tobacco products or
Note: They want you to buy their smokeless tobacco which
causes pancreatic cancer, cancers of the mouth, but may not give you
lung cancer. This is less harmful?]
I'd like to spend just a minute talking about the basis for these
beliefs -- and why we're convinced that they must play a central role
in any legislation that might be proposed.
RJ. Reynolds has a long, well-documented history of efforts to develop
products that present smokers with less risk. But one thing that
has hampered the company, and others who share this commitment to harm
reduction, is the lack of clear, consistent standards to judge and
communicate the relative risk of tobacco products.
Note: RJ. Reynolds has refused to make RIP [Reduced
Ignition Propensity] cigarettes for any consumers except those living
in states where the law requires this. See the question regarding
this at the meeting.]
Let me give you an
example. There's a large and
growing body of
scientific evidence suggesting that we could achieve major strides in
public health if smokers who don't want to quit -- or believe they
can't quit -- would switch to noncombustible tobacco products like
moist snuff or snus.
Note: Again, smokeless tobacco is higher in radioactivity
than are cigarettes, cause cancer, and is dangerous to the user's gums
and teeth and throat.]
But a lack of clear standards to judge and communicate potential
benefits of making that switch prevents our companies from providing
adult smokers with the facts they need to make an informed
choice. And it prevents tobacco companies -- and the government
-- from providing them with incentives to try to switch.
We strongly support informed
choice as a bedrock of responsible public
policy. And an increasing number of scientists and health
officials are also coming to believe that consumers deserve access to
information that helps them make informed choices concerning
products and their use.
Note: Again, once the product is used, addiction takes
over, and there is no such thing as "informed choice" where tobacco
products are concerned. If Reynolds is so concerned over the
health of their customers, why don't they stop making tobacco
products? Other responsible companies have pulled their product
lines when just a few people have become ill or died. But not
So I repeat the point I made when I began this presentation of Reynolds
American's Guiding Principles and Beliefs: We welcome the
opportunity for broad-based
discussion to determine effective public
policy. And we remain hopeful that we can make meaningful
progress in this regard.
Note: "Broad based discussion" may well refer to the
renting of scientists and the renting of former health officials and
So that gives you a good idea of how Reynolds American is doing and how
we're achieving results. At this meeting last year, I told you
that 2006 was already shaping up to be another exciting year at
Reynolds American. Looking back, I think you'll agree that it was
even more exciting -- and more successful -- than we could
predict. And I look forward to standing before you next year and
saying the same about 2007. Because, as you saw from our
first-quarter results, Reynolds American is already off to another
Note: In order for Reynolds American to continue to make
profits, and especially more money than ever before, they must addict
and kill even more consumers, as well as raising the cost of their
products. To bring in new consumers at whatever age, they must
market and advertise. Reynolds
American is an adjudicated racketeer. The judge in 2006,
after hearing many witnesses and examining many documents, said they had lied to their consumers
and to the public in general. There is no reason to believe that
they are telling the truth now.]
No resolutions were offered, since these were
withdrawn during the process of discussions between all parties and the
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
However, the six activists who attended the meeting
in 2007, were prepared with questions for the company.
Reynolds did not provide a web cast, as did
Philip Morris/Altria, and since Reynolds does not normally provide a
transcript upon request, the report below is a summary of the memories
of several people as to the exact wording of the questions and
answers. Since Reynolds talks a great deal about their
well-documented history, it might be interesting if they would be brave
enough to provide a transcript or web cast of the meeting for everyone
background is helpful here.
Reynolds has developed are that Reynolds only allows two minutes per
question, although the CEO may take as long as s/he likes for the
answer or comment.
A short block of time is designated for the
entire Questions/Comments segment of the meeting.
A few years ago,
while the activists were asking questions, it was noted by the
activists that they were NOT
being given even close to a full two minutes. One of the people
spoke up about this, and the CEO at the time said that would not happen
the present time, the Reynolds "time keeper" interrupts
the speaker to tell them to finish speaking.
Alvina Bey, Virginia:
Anne Morrow Donley,
Lisa Maggio, Kentucky
Stan Myer, North
Alvina Bey, Virginia:
Morning, Ms. Ivey. As a teacher, I have brought with me some
questions from 6th graders, 10
and 11 year old children. I asked
them to write down the one
question they would like to ask you. I
could not answer their questions, and I am hoping that you will.
you like what you do?'
you know you are killing people?'
you know kids my age are smoking?'
finally, I want to speak to you from my heart. This year, my
sister and I face another Mother's Day without our Mother, because she
smoked your products. Your products killed her.
is not informed choice when people are addicted to tobacco.
is an oxymoron. You cannot
be a responsible company and produce
products which addict and kill people. That is an
The attorney/time keeper interrupted:
Bey, will you please wrap it up?"
Alvina Bey, continuing:
I hope one day these meetings will
no longer occur because they are not
appropriate, and they will no longer be needed."
"Thank you for your comments."
Susan Ivey did not ANSWER the questions of the children.
Morning, Chairwoman Ivey & Board. I'm Sharon Brown, a native
North Carolinian who now is living 'as a Yankee' in the Pittsburgh,
The attorney/timekeeper interrupted:
You mentioned this morning during your presentation regarding Reynolds'
specifically under the principle of 'Tobacco
Regulation', that you think that bars and taverns should not be regulated under
smoke-free legislation as they should be considered 'adult choices for adult venues.'
If this is truly your 'belief', then why did Reynolds interfere in
the smoke-free legislative process in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania
this year? We were able to pass a fairly comprehensive
smoke-free workplace ordinance, a portion of which was enacted January
2 of this year . However, due to political and industry
compromises, the portion of the law that spoke to restaurants and bars
was delayed until May 2, 2007. This delay was due to a lawsuit filed in the Common Pleas
Court by two local restaurants with bars -- Smithfield Cafe and
Mitchell's Restaurant. Soon
afterwards, as a result of an investigation by our local press, it was
found that the suit was being solely supported by Reynolds.
As the Common Pleas judge refused to bar the implementation of the
second portion of the law, it went into effect on May 1 -- but only for
16 hours, due to the injunction you filed with the Commonwealth Court
of Pennsylvania that same day. This in effect prevents us from having
smoke-free restaurants where many families with children are denied
smoke-free environments. If you truly are against blocking
ordinances for 'multi-use venues' such as these, and protecting
children from secondhand smoke exposures, why did you do this, and ..."
"Ms. Brown, will you please come to the
Sharon Brown, continuing:
if I may continue,
I don't see the figures on any company provided spread sheet for FY
2006, so I'd like to know how
much money was spent by Reynolds to support this lawsuit -- money that
could have gone to the
shareholders -- particularly
the amount spent by Reynolds, versus the two restaurants;
and, how much more support is being planned, in light of your statement
that you do not block ordinances regarding 'mixed use venues'?
not really familiar with what happened in Allegheny County.
Certainly, as I said in my opening remarks, we support legislation to
have smoke-free regulations for 'mixed
venues', but not for adult-only
venues. I'll check on this and have someone get back to you."
Morning, Ms. Ivey. Just this morning [May 11, 2007] in the Greensboro News & Record, there
was a letter to the editor from a Winston-Salem resident about a recent
North Carolina House Bill that was voted down.
Quoting from the letter:
smoke kills more people, including children, than motor vehicle
accidents, AIDS, all crimes, illegal drugs, etc.'
'Since when did the
right of restaurant owners to pollute air become more important than
the health of patrons and their children?'
The bill would have done away with smoking in restaurants, hotels, and
most other public places. Reynolds
American lobbied heavily against the bill.
Why would Reynolds oppose these smoking restrictions when you have
already said Reynolds American does not oppose smoking restrictions in
'mixed venues'? Why would Reynolds oppose these smoking
restrictions when the EPA [U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency] has classified secondhand smoke as a
Class A carcinogen, the U.S. Surgeon General has stated that there is
no safe level of secondhand smoke exposure, and peer-reviewed
scientific studies have shown that emergency room visits for heart
attacks are greatly reduced in places where there are laws restricting
smoking in public?
Why would Reynolds want to put nonsmokers at risk? In Guilford
County (North Carolina) alone, the American Lung Association stated
that more than 178,000 people are in higher risk categories -- people
with asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, cardiovascular disease, and
diabetes. Why does Reynolds
want to discriminate against these people? Why doesn't Reynolds
And please do not use the
property rights fallacy for an answer, because public
accommodations have long been regulated for the public good. There is no big step to banning
contaminated burgers to banning carcinogen-and poison-contaminated
Meyer, will you please wrap it up?"
comments that the company believes smoking restrictions should
exempt bars and taverns does not consider the
lives of the employees of these places. Often
they cannot easily
find other jobs.
They too may develop secondhand smoke related illnesses and die."
acceptable to have restrictions in mixed age venues and in offices, but
not in adult only venues."
Morning. I am a nurse in Kentucky. We are very happy and
proud to have a smoke-free
Lexington law, and we are a tobacco state
just like North Carolina is.
Please understand our struggles. As nurses, our job is to promote
health, prevent disease, and protect life. Your job is to make
money and promote a deadly product that when used as directed will
cause death and disease.
nurses, we care for these
people, we see their suffering, we sometimes see them die. And we
see their families devastated by this suffering and death.
I am distressed that your director,
Nana Mensah, is not here, because I
want to know how you have someone
on the board of this tobacco company who is also on the board of the Children's Miracle
Network and the
board of the Kentucky Children's
Hospital. That seems
to be a conflict of interest. I
see he has been on the tobacco boards since at least 1999.
I ask that your board members be aware of potential conflicts of
interest when they decide to serve on the RAI board. Your decision should be whether you
will support a company that promotes a deadly product, or you are in
support of organizations whose missions are to promote health,
especially of children. Mr. Mensah also serves on the
Children's Miracle Network, which are hospitals that impact the lives
of more children than any other children's organization in the
world. Children's hospitals provide state-of-the-art care,
life-saving research, and preventative education for children 24 hours
a day, 365 days a year.
it reprehensible that he would serve as a trustee protecting the rights
of children on the one hand, and be part of a company that would deny
their legal options to ensure their environments are smoke-free.
say you are a responsible company. This company continues to
target young women by marketing your Camel No. 9 brand, which as
intended, sounds a great deal like Chanel No. 9. As I look upon
the stage, I see three out of four members are women. You are
aware that lung cancer has surpassed breast cancer in women?
It's irresponsible to market this
product to attract replacement smokers for the ones who are dying of
their tobacco addiction.
And lastly, your stance on
smoke-free laws omits the importance of worker health.
Don't workers deserve a safe environment in which to work?"
you for your comments."
Anne Morrow Donley,
Morning, Ms. Ivey. You really should provide a videotape of this
meeting to all schools, so the children can learn about propaganda.
I thought I had stumbled into a temple or
church with all this talk of 'Believe.'
said that the company 'believes' that nicotine is addictive, but not a
significant threat to health.
I'd say that death is a
pretty significant threat to health.
Nicotine is a well known
poison and an insecticide. Indeed, the Colony Collapse
the threat that is killing bees worldwide, may be linked to
the late Dr. John Slade, a well known expert on nicotine, once said in
regard to your American Spirit
so called 'natural' cigarettes, that they still contain nicotine, and
that 'Nicotine will kill you.'
Then there's the Polonium-210 in
your products, the radioactivity, and
Jeffrey Wigand -- you remember Jeffrey Wigand, Ms. Ivey? -- has stated
the smokeless tobacco products
are higher in Polonium-210 than the
saying that you want to work on harm reduction and to classify the
risks of varying tobacco products is like the auto industry saying they
want to see whether a pick up truck or a four door sedan will kill you
faster when it runs over you. ..."
Anne Morrow Donley:
not a 'Sister.' "
Anne Morrow Donley:
I'm not upset to be mistaken for a Sister. But I am a
you please wrap it up?"
Anne Morrow Donley:
'Belief' about the litigation picture overlooked the fact that you are
adjudicated racketeers. You overlooked the Whiteley case, Leslie
Whiteley died at the age of 40 from smoking your products, and the case
recently filed in Africa against BAT. ..."
Donley, please wrap it up!"
Anne Morrow Donley:
would think that considering the fact that a few years ago you cheated
us all on the amount of time allowed to each of us, and considering
there are no resolutions presented this year, that you could have the
courtesy of allowing an extra 30 seconds of time!
Responsible companies who
discovered illnesses and deaths from their
products, such as peanut butter, Tylenol, grapes, and so on, pulled
The only way you can be a
responsible company is to do the moral thing
and get out of the tobacco business!"
certainly will not be getting out of the tobacco business."
Morning again. As I mentioned before, I'm a native North
Carolinian, so I have a special interest in what happens here in North
Carolina. I'm also a nurse -- a graduate of the University of
North Carolina School of Nursing in Chapel Hill. And as a nurse
and health advocate, I need to make sure you're aware of these facts
Women are targeted every year by tobacco advertising. Of those
women who start smoking, 178,000
US women each year will die as a result of a smoking
related disease. Since 1987, lung cancer has been the
leading cause of cancer among women even surpassing breast
cancer. 87% to 90% of all
lung cancers are related to tobacco use. The other 10% to 13% are
related to secondhand smoke and radon exposures.
Given these facts, nurses and other health advocates wonder why
Reynolds American International chose not to support a
shareholder resolution aimed at
protecting children from the secondhand smoke exposures.
In the federal Department of Justice case against Reynolds and other
tobacco industry defendants, Judge Gladys Kessler ruled last summer
Reynolds and other
tobacco companies have violated racketeering laws by deceiving people
about the dangers of tobacco. Her ruling declared that the 'defendants continue to obscure the fact
that ETS [secondhand smoke] is hazardous to Nonsmokers.'
Also, on May 4, 2007, the Federal Trade
Commission (FTC) was asked by five US senators -- Lautenberg of New
Jersey, Harkin of Iowa, Durbin of Illinois, Brown
of Ohio, and Kennedy of Massachusetts, to investigate Reynolds'
apparent attempts to target young adolescent girls with the new Camel
No. 9 products.
You said in your opening remarks and elsewhere, that you do not market
to youth. But the new Camel
No. 9 has a ring to it like, 'Chanel No. 9,' and it's in pink in one
flavor, and teal for the menthol. This seems to indicate that it
is certainly directed
towards appealing to young adolescent girls. I happened to
notice an old Camel's display in the case outside of this auditorium --
probably from the 1930's or 1940's. It was an ad for 'Women and Camels' with women
leisurely lounging around, and described the cigarettes as 'Mild & Flavorful'. How
interesting that you've now moved to a campaign for Camels, that many
describe as being targeted to young adolescents, as well as young adult
females, as 'Light & Luscious.'
How can you do this? And, didn't Judge Kessler in the US
Department of Justice lawsuit declare that you are to no longer use the
term 'Light' in your advertising? How do you plan to respond to
the FTC senatorial investigation?
you, Sharon, for your comments. We do not market to girls.
The marketing and design staff is fully
competent, and tested products for young adult females. We can
market using the term 'Light' referring to flavor. And, we
will certainly cooperate fully with the Senators in providing
information for them."
you walk these days, there are cigarette
butts on the ground, the
streets, the sidewalks, the grass. They are everywhere, and they are not
biodegradable. These butts stay in our environment, poisoning our
water, rivers and streams, the water we drink. They also
kill the wildlife.
In addition, there are cigarette related fires going on right now in
states. Cigarette related
fires could be greatly reduced with the
Reduced Ignition Propensity or RIP cigarettes, which
self-extinguish. Common sense tells us that something that
continue to burn is more likely to cause fires than something that will
Several states now require that
all cigarettes sold in those states
must be RIP. Reynolds produces these cigarettes for those states.
Why doesn't Reynolds produce those RIP
cigarettes to reduce fires, and what is Reynolds doing about the
cigarette litter that continues to pollute our environment?"
there is a great deal more
cigarette litter than before, and this is
because of the increase of smoking restrictions, so more and
smokers must smoke outside. We can try to encourage education,
but I don't know what else we can do.
Susan Ivey, continuing:
the RIP, or the LIP, the Lower Ignition Propensity, this is based on a
particular kind of paper which does not ignite as easily. There
just isn't enough of that paper in the United States to make all the
cigarettes with that paper."
Note: Essentially, as with most of the other questions
asked, Susan Ivey did not
answer these two questions. She blamed the nonsmokers for the
cigarette litter. Then, regarding the RIP cigarettes, note that
the tobacco industry does not like the term RIP, and prefers the one
she used, LIP. Surely, if Reynolds wanted to buy more of the
special cigarette RIP paper, it would be produced.]
And now, this concludes the Question and Answer
If anyone else would like to have a question answered,
you may find paper and pen at the back of the room, and write the
questions down and submit them to the staff. ..."
Anne Morrow Donley, speaking from the audience:
notice you didn't answer the questions of the 10 and 11 year old
children. I guess you didn't think their questions were important
enough to answer."
of course I think the children's questions are important. And
I'll be glad to answer them offline."
Ivey then concluded the meeting after a report of the voting and other
Following the meeting, Alvina Bey talked with Susan Ivey about the
children's questions, and Susan Ivey transferred her to the public
relations person. Alvina Bey said she would send several
questions to the public relations person, but emphasized that the
children are expecting a
answer from the CEO herself.
Several staff members approached Sharon Brown, Lisa Maggio, and
Alvina Bey to go over some of the issues discussed during the
questions and comments period. The Reynolds staff did not agree to
the advocates' suggestions regarding Camel No. 9 promotions and
advertising. The staff did
agree to disclose the financial information regarding both the
amount spent to date to fund the Allegheny, Pennsylvania lawsuit, and
future financial commitments to the case.
Journal, May 12, 2007,
headlined, CEO spells out
Reynolds' principles; any federal regulation must protect rights of
adults, Ivey tells shareholders, writer, Richard Craver.
Susan Ivey, its
[Reynolds American] chairwoman and chief executive,
dedicated the majority of her presentation to discussing Reynolds’
guiding principles on tobacco use, regulation, efforts on making
products that are less harmful, and marketing to adult consumers.
guiding principles also dominated the question-and-answer
session with shareholders. Most of the speakers, as typical,
shareholders who also are members of health-advocacy groups critical
of Reynolds’ product and marketing strategies.
It was the
third consecutive meeting where no smoking was permitted.
reiterated Reynolds’ opposition to Food and Drug Administration
regulation of the tobacco industry as currently proposed in a bill
before Congress. She said that for Reynolds to support more
regulation, it must allow tobacco products to remain legal, be
regulated in a consistent manner, permit marketing to adult smokers,
and minimize exposure of tobacco marketing to minors.
said that Reynolds’ guiding principles “closely align with the
beliefs and interests of our society as a whole.”
that Reynolds acknowledges that “smoking causes serious disease,”
“nicotine in tobacco products is addictive, but not considered a
significant threat to health,” “no tobacco product has been shown
to be safe,” and “an individual’s level of risk for serious
disease is significantly affected by the type of tobacco products
used, as well as the manner and frequency of use.”
she said, recognizes that many people prefer to work, shop and dine
in smoke-free environments. “So that brings us back to the tobacco
dilemma: How do we minimize the potential for public harm while
preserving the rights of adults to enjoy the pleasures that some find
in tobacco? In our opinion, the best way to do that is to make sure
that any proposals to restrict or ban smoking provide for
common-sense exemptions that allow the owners of bars, taverns and
other age-restricted venues the choice to set their own smoking
policy,” she said.
stance drew criticism from the
health-advocacy representatives, as did Reynolds’ introduction in
February of Camel No. 9 - the first Camel style that targets
female smokers in terms of flavor and packaging. Camel No. 9 was
cited last week for its potential to appeal to minor girls in a
letter by five U.S. senators to the Federal Trade Commission.
Maggio, a registered nurse from Lexington, Ky., and a member of the
Nightingales Nurses advocacy group, questioned Reynolds’
to its guiding principles and urged the company to do more to protect
youth from exposure to secondhand smoke.
Maggio also targeted
the female members of Reynolds’ management- five of the top seven
officers are women - with her criticism of Camel No. 9. She said that
Reynolds should not have introduced a cigarette that focuses on women
when lung cancer has become the leading cause of cancer in women.
Ivey said that
Camel No. 9 is not aimed at minor girls, but
is a reflection of the fact that nearly half of smokers are women.
Ivey praised Reynolds’ $3.5 billion
purchase of Conwood Co.
in 2005. Reynolds received criticism for the deal, but “based on
Conwood’s continued strong growth, I have no doubt that we’d pay
a significantly higher price today for this powerful addition to the
Reynolds American family,” she said.
Shareholders ... also approved an
amendment that would increase the number of authorized shares of
Reynolds common stock from 400 million to 800 million.
board of directors declared a 75 cent quarterly cash dividend on its
common stock. The dividend is payable July 2 to shareholders
registered June 11.
Excerpts from a Letter to the Editor, The Greensboro News
& Record, North
Carolina, May 11, 2007, headlined, "Vote on smoking ban
won't soon be forgotten",
writer Barry Carlton.
tobacco smoke kills more people, including children, than motor vehicle
accidents, AIDS, all crimes, illegal drugs, etc. Yet, many
North Carolina legislators including Reps. John Blust, Earl Jones and
Laura Wiley from Guilford County argued
for property rights while ignoring a chance to prevent these needless
deaths by voting against HB 259, a bill to ban smoking in
Since when did the right of
restaurant owners to pollute air become more important than the health
of patrons and their children?
Legislators banned smoking at legislative buildings to protect their
health, while passing a pre-emption law that prevents local
governments from doing the same. ...
Until we can get protection on a state or local level, Reps. Alma
Adams, Pricey Harrison and Maggie Jeffus, who voted for the bill, as
well as business owners who care enough to create clean air workplaces,
deserve our loyal support.
Please Note: At the 2007 Reynolds
American shareholder meeting
on May 11, 2007, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, reported above,
CEO Susan Ivey listed a set of "Beliefs", one of which begins, "We
believe that nicotine is addictive ..." So, while Susan Ivey was
stating the company's "Beliefs", the company lawyers were demanding a
mental health exam be given to an RJR customer who states she was
addicted to RJR cigarettes which contain nicotine.
from Mealey's Litigation Report,
Tobacco, May, 2007, Volume 21, Issue 3, headlined, Cigarette Maker [RJR]: Force
Addiction-Claiming Woman to Have Mental Exam, writer not
cancer-afflicted woman alleging that a tobacco
liable for intentionally causing her addiction to its cigarettes should
forced to submit to a mental examination because she placed her mental
in controversy by claiming to be addicted, the company argues in a
motion; the plaintiff in a May 7 response denies that she placed her
condition in controversy and counters that the company has not shown
an examination will be probative (Barbara
A. Izzarelli v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No.
3:99cv02338, D. Conn.).
Approximately 25 years after she began
Izzarelli sued R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.
in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, seeking damages for
personal injury, including laryngeal cancer, under the
Liability Act (CPLA) and the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act
Among other things, Izzarelli alleged
that RJR's Salem cigarettes are
unreasonably dangerous in that they are addictive and that RJR
manipulated the cigarettes to enhance their addictive properties so
consumers would smoke more of them. She also charged that RJR has long
a marketing strategy targeting minors in the hopes that they would
addicted to cigarettes and provide a long-term base of consumers.
RJR on March 22 moved for an order
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 35(a)
requiring Izzarelli to submit to a mental examination by a team of
psychiatrists and psychologists. According to RJR, such an order is
because Izzarelli voluntarily placed her mental health in controversy
alleged that she is addicted to Salem cigarettes.
RJR say it has retained Spencer Eth,
M.D., Wilfred G. van Gorp, Ph.D., and
Ellen Jay Kausner, Ph.D., all in New York , to perform the examination.
requests that the examiners be permitted to conduct an in-person
Izzarelli - including a smoking,
personality, developmental, medical and psychiatric history and a
functioning evaluation - followed by a battery of standard
tests to assess personality, memory, language, intellect and other
domains. RJR estimates that the entire process would last between seven
hours and proposes that neither party have counsel in attendance and
audio, visual or other recordings be made of the examination.
Izzarelli objected in a May 7
response, saying RJR had not in fact demonstrated
that she placed her mental condition "in controversy" or that there
is "good cause" for a mental examination.
Izzarelli also points out that RJR has
not disclosed how the proposed
examination would be probative, nor has it disclosed which tests the
"While defendant contends that the
mental examination is necessary because
plaintiff has raised 'addiction' in the case, the testing that
to conduct does not test for addiction," Izzarelli says. "Moreover,
the psychiatrist and psychologists selected . . . are not qualified to
expert opinions about addiction - which is largely a physiological
the brain. . . . Defendant's failure
to demonstrate to the Court how the
proposed testing specifically relates to addiction is particularly
light of the fact that plaintiff Barbara Izzarelli has not smoked in
Izzarelli stresses that her claims in
this suit are for cancer only, not for
addiction as a separate injury. Recovery for cancer-related damages
implicate her psychiatric health, and a claim for cancer-related
not justify such an invasive inquiry by RJR, she says.
Izzarelli is represented by David S.
Golub, Jonathan M. Levine and Marilyn J.
Ramos of Silver, Golub & Teitell in Stamford, Conn. RJR is
Mark R. Seiden of Jones Day in New York and David Thomas Ryan of
Cole in Hartford.
13 May 2007, Updated 19 May 2007