Altria’s Altruism: Helping Smokers Fight Back on Election Day


More and more rules and regulations are popping up across the U.S. that make it more difficult, more expensive, and often both of those things for Americans to enjoy their tobacco products. Over the years, there have been plenty of organizations and events that attempt to help people put an end to smoking in their lives and others.

Now the Altria Group has launched a website that can help consumers keep track of everything that’s going on to curtail smoking. But given that it’s a digital marketing move from the cigarette maker formerly known as The Philip Morris Companies Inc., it’s suggesting ways for smokers not to quit, but how to fight back by voting for candidates who are sympathetic with the tobacco industry.[more]

Called Citizens for Tobacco Rights, Altria’s smoker advocacy website — wrapped in a patriotic red, white and blue and rough typography that suggests Occupy-like protests — offers the public updated “information on both state and federal tobacco issues such as taxes, smoking bans and other regulation,” AP reports.

According to the site itself, its aim is to gather a “group of adult smokers and dippers joining together to learn more about and take action on issues they care about.” In order to help spur that action, there’s a section inviting smokers to “speak out” on tobacco taxes and another channel on to express their views when voting, with the call to arms: “Your task is simple: Vote. Get informed about the candidates and issues, and make your voice heard on Election Day.”

Tobacco popularity may seemingly be going down, but Altria, whose holdings include the Marlboro-producing Philip Morris USA and Skoal maker U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company, is doing just fine on Wall Street these days. Barron’s reports that the company’s stock rose 20% in 2011 and has increased 50% of the last two years. Its 52-week high happened only a few weeks back when shares hit $30.40.