Sep. 30 1999
Washington, DC - The CAMPAIGN FOR TOBACCO-FREE KIDS calls for strong restrictions on the aggressive marketing practices of U.S. tobacco companies. In a study by the Stanford University School of Medicine published in the October issue of The American Journal of Public Health, researchers from Stanford and Santa Clara Universities have found that small retailers are receiving far more placement money from tobacco companies than they receive for other popular in-store items such as soft drinks, beer, wine and snacks. The money pays for slotting and display allowances that encourage retailers to display and advertise tobacco products in ways that make them appealing and accessible to kids.
The Stanford study forcefully contradicts Big Tobacco’s assertions that it is interested in reducing tobacco use by kids. If that were true, the tobacco companies would stop promoting self-service displays that encourage kids to purchase cigarettes and spit tobacco. The self-service displays also encourage shoplifting; putting tobacco products behind the counter would make stealing practically impossible.
Placement payments from tobacco companies allow retailers to discount cigarette prices, making them more affordable to children. Payments also buy political support from many retailers in opposing sensible restrictions on sales and promotion of tobacco products to kids.
The tobacco industry has consistently opposed implementation of the FDA rule that would require retailers to place all tobacco products behind the counter. By paying out billions of dollars in “slotting” fees to retailers each year, the tobacco companies are continuing to send a message to kids that tobacco is just another product for regular use like food and beverages. Displaying tobacco products so prominently gives a sense of normalcy and acceptance to a deadly product!
Federal regulations already prohibit placement fees to retailers for alcoholic beverages. Tobacco addicts 3,000 kids each day, and kills more Americans each year than alcohol, drugs, homicides, fires and traffic accidents combined.
The CAMPAIGN FOR TOBACCO-FREE KIDS calls on the tobacco industry to drop its opposition to FDA regulation of tobacco products. The CAMPAIGN also urges the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to heed the results of the Stanford study and to prohibit tobacco company placement fees and force retailers to put tobacco products behind the counter.