May. 29 2002
Washington, DC — Today's release of a new study by the American Legacy Foundation gives conclusive evidence that Philip Morris' latest efforts to clean up its image by running advertisements purporting to discourage youth smoking are nothing more than a sham. Instead of reducing youth smoking, they insidiously encourage kids to use tobacco and become addicted Philip Morris customers. At the same time, the study clearly demonstrates that Legacy's truthsm counter-marketing campaign is an integral part of comprehensive, effective tobacco prevention efforts.
We call on the tobacco industry, and Philip Morris in particular, to stop their phony youth prevention programs which do more harm than good. Once and for all, we want Philip Morris and the other tobacco companies to stay away from our kids. That means the tobacco industry must stop spending billions on seductive tobacco marketing, which impacts kids. It means the tobacco companies must stay out of our schools with book covers and other promotional materials, stop all polling of our kids about their smoking behaviors and lifestyles and stop all attempts to thwart effective prevention programs around the country.
We also call for the tobacco industry to accept an amendment to the Master Settlement Agreement – the landmark 1998 legal settlement between the tobacco industry and the states – to make permanent the payments by the industry to the education fund. The Legacy report clearly shows that Big Tobacco cannot be trusted to run anti-smoking campaigns.
The tobacco companies, including Philip Morris, are still trying to hoodwink the public into believing that the industry is reforming itself when, in fact, it is continuing to addict our kids, attack legitimate prevention programs and fight against tobacco regulation at all levels of government. It is imperative that policymakers at the local, state and federal level finally deal with the duplicity of the tobacco industry and move quickly to enact real reforms, including FDA authority to regulate tobacco products, that will reduce youth tobacco use and save millions of lives.
For more information on the American Legacy Foundation Study, go to: www.americanlegacy.org