May. 8 1998
Washington, DC - "Big Tobacco or Kids?" Today the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids aunched an aggressive advertising campaign in key congressional districts around the country, 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 choose where they stand. Voters have the right to know." The new advertising campaign, running initially in the states of Senators Allard (R-CO), Campbell (R-CO), Bond (R-MO), Ashcroft (R-MO), Brownback (R-KS), Roberts (R-KS) and Roth (R-DE) leads with the line, "Big Tobacco or Kids?" Each ad depicts the infamous industry icon -- the Marlboro Man -- peering over two children and also contains a photo of the Senator. The ad goes on to state, "It’s time for him to choose." Versions of these advertisements are also running in the states of Senators Santorum (R-PA), Specter (R-PA) and DeWine (R-OH), starting today. These ads include headlines imploring the Senators to protect their state’s kids from tobacco. They also contain a firm reminder that in each Senator’s state, "...kids are counting on you in this important fight." Next week, the advertising campaign will pick up even greater momentum, as additional placements -- including some in Congressional districts of House members -- begin to appear. "While Congress debates, the tobacco industry and their allies have been attacking tobacco control legislation with a ‘4-D’ strategy," Novelli said. "They’re 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." "The tobacco industry 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 surrender by Congress to the industry, and another defeat for our kids."