Dear Democracy Now! Visitor: We are an independent, ad-free daily news program that serves millions of viewers and listeners each month. In this US election year, Democracy Now! is more important than ever. For 20 years, we’ve put a spotlight on corporate and government abuses of power. We lift up the stories of ordinary people working to make change in extraordinary times. We do all of this with just a fraction of the budget and staff of a commercial news show. We do it without ads, corporate sponsorship or government funding. How is this possible? Only with your support. A generous funder will match your donation dollar for dollar if you donate right now. That means when you give $10, your donation will be worth $20. Pretty exciting, right? So, if you've been waiting to make your contribution to Democracy Now!, today is your day. It takes just a couple of minutes to make sure that Democracy Now! is there for you every day.

Your Donation: $

Smoke Hard, Die Young: A New Phillip Morris Study for the Czech Republic Says That Smokingsaves Money On Caring for the Elderly Because They Die Prematurely

July 26, 2001

How much is a human life worth? Well, according to Philip Morris, $1,227–to be exact. That’s how much a recentstudy sponsored by the global tobacco giant said the Czech Republic saves on health care, pensions and housing everytime a smoker dies prematurely. No, we are not making this up.

The report was prepared for Philip Morris last fall by an international consulting firm, Arthur D. LittleInternational, as the Czech government prepared to debate new cigarette taxes. It was exposed this past week by areporter from the Wall Street Journal.

The report has, needless to say, generated astonishment and outrage in the Czech Republic and among anti-smokingactivists around the world. One Czech newspaper compared Philip Morris to the Nazis, which during WWII calculatedthe precise cost of killing people versus keeping them alive in concentration camps. New York Newsday calledthem "merchants of death."

While smoking rates continue to decline in the U.S., Philip Morris’s report for the Czech Republic shows where thereal action is–in poorer countries where tobacco laws are lax and public information about the deadly impact ofsmoking is scarce. The report also comes as 150 countries pursue negotiations toward an international framework onthe control of the tobacco industry, a framework opposed by the tobacco industry and the Bush Administration.

Philip Morris declined our repeated requests to appear on the show. But their Senior Vice President told the WallStreet Journal yesterday that the report was "not only a terrible mistake, but wrong." The company says it hascanceled plans for similar studies in Poland, Slovaakia, Hungary and Slovenia.


  • Kathyrn Mulvey, Executive Director of INFACT, a grassroots corporate watchdog organization that hascampaigned against Philip Morris.
  • Derek Yach, with the World Health Organization in Geneva. He oversees the Tobacco Free Project, whichlaunched the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

Related links:

The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.