John Oliver Introduces Big Tobacco’s New Mascot: ‘Jeff, the Diseased Lung in a Cowboy Hat’

In today’s edition of “It’s Monday and Here’s a John Oliver Clip,” the HBO host takes on Big Tobacco, an industry so insidious that it sues tiny countries to drop its public health legislation.

Despite its increasing unpopularity in the U.S. — only 18% of Americans smoke tobacco products — tobacco farmers are more profitable than ever. (“They’re the agricultural equivalent of U2,” Oliver claimed.) That’s because companies like Phillip Morris are expanding overseas, looking to hook entire nations on their products, like that two-year-old Indonesian boy who went viral last year for chain smoking.

To keep entire countries in their grasp, they’ve taken to suing countries trying to adopt anti-smoking legislation, like Togo, a country whose GDP is roughly 5% of the yearly net revenue of Phillip Morris. “We actually reached out to Togo and asked to see their correspondence with the tobacco companies,” Oliver said, pulling out a translated lawsuit. In short, Phillip Morris demanded that Togo can a law proposing to put gross diseased-lung photos on cigarette packaging by threatening to sue their pants off, citing a law from an Australian court that actually ruled in favor of similar legislation.

A resigned Oliver proposed a compromise with Big Tobacco by offering a cute cartoon mascot: Jeff, The Diseased Lung In A Cowboy Hat. “We are giving this man to you, Phillip Morris!” he offered

Watch below via HBO:

[Image via screenshot]

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