It’s Time For Congress To Decide: Big Tobacco Or America’s Kids?

Ongoing National Ad Campaign Expands; Latest Targets Include House Members in Three States, More are Planned

May. 12 1998

Washington, DC - Big Tobacco or Kids? Today the CAMPAIGN FOR TOBACCO-FREE KIDS continued and expanded its aggressive national advertising campaign in key congressional districts around the country, again naming specific members of Congress and urging them to state their position on comprehensive tobacco control legislation. "The public is calling for tough, comprehensive legislation to protect our children from tobacco addiction and death. More than 78 percent of Americans believe that it is the right thing for ongress to do -- with or without tobacco industry support," said CAMPAIGN President Bill Novelli. After almost a year since this debate began, it is time for members of Congress to step forward and be honest about where they stand. Voters have the right to know." The national advertising campaign began on May 8, and today’s expansion includes print placements in the districts of Representatives Chabot (R-OH), Coburn (R-OK), Hastert (R-IL), Ney (R-OH), Pryce (R-OH) and Strickland (D-OH). Ads will run in additional states tomorrow and Thursday, and ads may also run again in the districts of the Representatives being targeted today. Two versions of the House ads will appear. Each depicts the infamous industry icon -- the Marlboro Man -- peering over two children and also contains a photo of the Member. The first version, which will run in the districts of Representatives Hastert, Pryce and Strickland, leads with a headline imploring the representative to protect his or her state’s kids from tobacco. It continues by reminding the legislator that in his or her state, "kids are counting on you in this important fight." A second version of the ad includes a headline with the representative’s name that asks: "Big Tobacco or Kids?" This ad, which will run in the districts of Representatives Chabot, Coburn and Ney, continues with the question: "Where does Representative [legislator’s name] stand in this important fight? It’s time for him to choose." Last week, similar ads targeted key Senators in six states; those or other Senate ads may run in the future. "While Congress debates, the tobacco industry and its allies have been attacking tobacco control legislation with a ‘4-D’ strategy," Novelli said. "The industry is trying to delay and deceive in order to destroy or disable legislation that will protect kids and save lives." "The tobacco companies’ cries of bankruptcy don’t stand up in the light of the remarkable revenues they reported last year and their 38 percent profit margin," Novelli explained. "Their allegation that cigarettes will increase to $5 a pack under comprehensive legislation is based on a deceptive analysis conducted by their allies. And their claims that a huge black market will develop flies in the face of experiences in other countries, and a recent report by the Treasury Department." "Big Tobacco has been winning fights in Washington for years by funneling money into political coffers, utilizing high priced lobbyists and financing deceptive advertising and marketing campaigns," Novelli continued. "If comprehensive tobacco control legislation is defeated this year, it will be a victory by the industry, and another defeat for our kids." The CAMPAIGN FOR TOBACCO-FREE KIDS is the largest initiative ever undertaken to decrease youth tobacco use in the United States. Its mandate is to focus the nation’s attention and action on keeping tobacco marketing from seducing children and making tobacco less accessible to kids.

 

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