NEW YORK, Feb. 17 (UPI) -- "#JeffWeCan" started trending on Twitter Sunday after Last Week Tonight host John Oliver called on tobacco companies to adopt a new mascot, "Jeff the Diseased Lung."
Oliver presented Jeff - a sickly, diseased lung wearing a cowboy hat -- as an alternative to big tobacco branding, like Marlboro's iconic cowboy.
During the 18-minute segment, Oliver railed against tobacco companies, particularly Phillip Morris International, for threatening to sue smaller countries that have taken steps to limit branding on cigarette packets.
Smoking rates in the United States ave dramatically decreased since the 1960s, Oliver explained. But tobacco companies have turned their attention to foreign markets, like Uruguay and Togo, which don't have the financial resources to fend off expensive lawsuits.
"It's clear what each side wants," he said. "Countries want to warn their citizens about the health dangers of smoking tobacco. Tobacco companies want to be able to present branded images that they have spent time and money to cultivate."
By way of compromise, Oliver said the Last Week Tonight team had come up with Jeff, and already posted Jeff billboards in Uruguay and mailed Jeff t-shirts to Togo. He also encouraged social media users to make Jeff the new face of smoking.