Nov. 3 1999
Washington, DC - Twenty-six national health, religious and education organizations launched a new print advertising campaign in major publications around the United States urging Philip Morris, the leading cigarette maker, to take meaningful steps to reduce youth tobacco use. The ad – in the form of a letter signed by 26 organizations to Philip Morris’ CEO Geoffrey Bible – comes on the heels of Philip Morris’ acknowledgement of the consensus in the medical and scientific communities that cigarette smoking causes lung cancer, heart disease, and other serious illnesses and is addictive. “Your public admission brings with it the responsibility for action – not just words – to begin to reduce the more than 400,000 annual deaths from tobacco in the U.S.,” the letter reads. The organizations call on Philip Morris to take concrete steps to back up its admission and demonstrate that it is serious about reducing youth tobacco use. These steps include: Ending its opposition to reasonable regulation of tobacco products by the Food and Drug Administration and dropping its lawsuit against FDA; Stopping all marketing practices that impact youth; Taking action to reduce the ease with which kids illegally obtain cigarettes; and Revising its “youth anti-smoking” advertising campaign to include the truth – that cigarette smoking kills and is addictive. The advertisements will run in The Washington Post, The New York Times, USA Today, The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Times, Greenwich Time, Richmond Times-Dispatch, The Manchester Union Leader, several other New Hampshire newspapers, Governing magazine, Education Week, Youth Today and others. Among the organizations behind the campaign are the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, National Education Association, American Medical Association, Children’s Defense Fund, YWCA of the U.S.A., National Medical Association, General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.