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Philip Morris's Project Sunrise:
Weakening tobacco control by working with it

Patricia A. McDaniel, Elizabeth A. Smith, and Ruth E. Malone
Tobacco Control 2006;15:215-223

This study analyzed internal tobacco industry documents to investigate the implications of Philip Morris USA's overtures toward tobacco control and other public health organizations, 1995-2006. Project Sunrise laid out an explicit divide-and-conquer strategy against the tobacco control movement, proposing the establishment of relationships with PM-identified "moderate" tobacco control individuals and organizations and the marginalization of others. McDaniel, et al., demonstrate that PM planned to use "carefully orchestrated efforts" to exploit existing differences of opinion within tobacco control, weakening its opponents by working with them. This paper, and the accompanying PowerPoint slide presentation, gives evidence that these plans were implemented.

Initial Strategy
The following is an early Project Sunrise presentation, apparently authored by vice president of corporate affairs, Ellen Merlo. In it, she provides the rationale for a comprehensive 10-20 year PM strategy to increase the social acceptability of smoking. She recommends focusing on 4 different areas:
  • assuring places to smoke, such as "smokeasies," and public and work place lounges
  • creating visible role models who smoke
  • celebrating smoking rituals (e.g., in books and movies)
  • creating smoking implements (i.e., paraphernalia that make smoking more ubiquitous)
Mission. May 1995 (est.) Philip Morris. Bates No. 2044341638/1676.
Development and Direction of Project Sunrise
These presentations outline the development and direction of Project Sunrise. They include descriptions of four future scenarios (e.g. "Mostly Sunny," "Avalanche") that Sunrise planners used to develop strategies to improve the social acceptability of smoking (see for more details on each scenario).

Based on these scenarios, three overriding goals were identified:
    1) choice (assuring that smoking remained a personal choice);
    2) pleasure (reclaiming the pleasures of smoking);
    3) place (ensuring that smokers had high quality places to smoke, with minimal     second-hand smoke and cigarette litter).
The team recommended seven broad strategies to achieve these goals:
    1) proactively deal with tobacco control advocates
    2) expand the smoking experience
    3) create connections with smokers
    4) assure smoking places
    5) minimize environmental tobacco smoke
    6) promote values that support smoking
    7) position PM as reasonable
Strategy #1 came to be called "Fair Play."

Merlo, E. Ellen Merlo. May 1997 (est.) Philip Morris. Bates No. 2078018804/8935
[Presentation of Research and Recommendations.] Oct 1999 (est.) Philip Morris.
Bates No. 2078018410/8475
Spector, J. Mostly Sunny. Oct 1999 (est.) Philip Morris. Bates No. 2078018477/8495
Laufer, D. New Game. Oct 1999 (est.) Philip Morris. Bates No. 2078018498/8537
Gee, E. Bladerunner Scenario. Oct 1999 (est.) Philip Morris. Bates No. 2078018559/8578
Beane, T. Avalanche Scenario. Oct 1999 (est.) Philip Morris. Bates No. 2078018539/8557
Lund, N. Revised Strategy and Actions Presentation. Oct 1999 (est.) Philip Morris.
Bates No. 2078018589/8666
Fair Play Strategy:
The following documents contain various iterations of the Fair Play strategy, whose goal was to limit the effectiveness of the tobacco control movement. The first three plans were authored by Joshua Slavitt, policy issues director in PM's issues management division.

Slavitt, J. Public Policy Plan. 15 Jan 1996. Philip Morris. Bates No. 2070437588/7600
Slavitt, J. Public Policy Plan Draft. 12 Dec 1996. Philip Morris. Bates No. 2070437692/7704
Slavitt, J. Public Policy Plan - Draft. 30 Jan 1997. Philip Morris. Bates No. 2063393720/3726
[Notes on Strategies]. 1997. Philip Morris. Bates No. 2065574307/4318
Anti-tobacco Industry Plan. Philip Morris. Bates No. 2063393705/3719
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