Citizens for Clean Air and Clean Lungs

Billie Jean King Elected To Philip Morris Board

Philip Morris announced yesterday that tennis star Billie Jean King has been elected to its board of directors.

King's relationship with Philip Morris began in 1970 when the company formed the Virginia Slims Tennis Tour. "We look forward to the unique perspective that she will bring to Philip Morris," said Geoffrey Bible, chairman and chief executive.

Business Wire, (8/25/99) "Billie Jean King Elected to Board of Directors of Philip Morris Companies Inc."
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AP, (8/25/99) "Cigarette Co. Names King to Board"
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SENDING THE WRONG MESSAGE -- Tennis great Billie Jean King has been elected to sit on Philip Morris' board of directors. Ms. King's relationship with the tobacco giant goes back 30 years, when Philip Morris formed the Virginia Slims Tennis Tour, and is unapologetic of her loyalty to Philip Morris (see News Summaries). Without Philip Morris, King argues, women's tennis would not be where it is today.

The decision by Ms. King, a role model to many girls and women, to support the world's largest cigarette maker, stands in stark contrast to the US Women's Soccer Team. The US Women's Soccer Team has taken an active role in persuading young women, and young men, from taking up smoking. They appear in tobacco control advertisements, and speak to youngsters about the importance of staying smoke-free. The soccer players pass on the message: if you want to play sports, and you want to succeed, don't smoke. It's unfortunate that Billie Jean King is not passing on a similar message to young tennis players.

[Tac's note: Michael Chang is also receiving funds from Philip Morris, because of his high profile both within the Asian-American community as well as the Asian community.]

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