Sep. 25 1997
Washington, DC - While pressure continues to mount against manipulative tobacco industry marketing, the CAMPAIGN FOR TOBACCO FREE KIDS has learned that Philip Morris is using an old trick to addict more young women to tobacco. The CAMPAIGN today sounded the September Tobacco Smoke Alarm on the company for its plan to re-launch the Virginia Slims Woman Thing Music Tour with a new artist. "Philip Morris’s renewed use of female musicians illustrates the company’s relentless effort to attract youthful smokers, especially girls," said Bill Novelli, CAMPAIGN President. "Despite the public outrage following the first Woman Thing Music tour, the company is going for a repeat performance. Using hip female role models, the company is aggressively trying to push a deadly product on vulnerable kids and lure them into a lifetime of addiction." The new Woman Thing Music Tour kicks off on October 3rd in Tampa, headlined by the musical act Pauley P. As with the first Virginia Slims tour, the opening act will be decided by a battle of the bands in most of the cities in the weeks before the main act. The cities in which the Pauley P. concerts will take place are: Tampa (Oct. 3), Philadelphia (Oct. 4), San Diego (Oct. 10), Chicago (Oct. 11), Atlanta (Oct. 24), Richmond (Oct. 25), Los Angeles (Nov. 7), Houston (Nov. 8), New York (Nov. 20), and Memphis (Nov. 21). Few other details have been released by the company. "By giving undiscovered female artists the opportunity for exposure," Novelli said, "Philip Morris is trying to create youthful role models that are associated with cigarette smoking. This is nothing less than a nationwide scheme to directly market Virginia Slims cigarettes to impressionable young women." "Philip Morris is clearly demonstrating that only through comprehensive national tobacco control legislation can we protect children from these insidious marketing schemes," Novelli continued. "The fact that the company is re-launching Woman Thing Music proves that these marketing tactics work, and they’re going to keep using them until they’re forced to stop." Woman Thing Music will hold concerts in such places as the "Cubby Bear" in Chicago, "Tramps" in New York City, and the "Viper Room" in Los Angeles. The concert in Chicago will have free admission, and all of the shows will offer free Virginia Slims paraphernalia. While some of these clubs allow "all ages" shows, Philip Morris maintains that the Woman Thing Music promotion is not targeted to young women. "As they do with all of their marketing schemes, Philip Morris claims that this music tour is not aimed at girls," Novelli said. "However, by mixing cigarettes with pop music, female artists, and heavy promotion, the company has clearly created a powerful tool to addict more young women to tobacco." About one in every four American women currently smokes, with virtually all new smokers picking up the habit in childhood or adolescence. Smoking among teenage girls has been consistently on the rise over the last five years, and in 1996, past-month smoking was reported to be 32.4 percent -- almost one-third -- of female 12th graders. One-third of the 1,500 girls who each day become regular smokers will die from tobacco-caused disease. The Tobacco Smoke Alarm is sounded monthly and is aimed at exposing the tobacco industry's efforts to market and sell more of its products to children directly through clever marketing -- or indirectly through its efforts to buy political influence. The CAMPAIGN FOR TOBACCO-FREE KIDS can be reached by email at: TobaccoSmokeAlarm@TobaccoFreeKids.org. 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.