POP Advertising TV Ads Strike a Chord:
Albany Times Union - Tobacco ads in stores draw new scrutiny
Anti-smoking groups criticize signs put up in retail outlets
By CHRISTEN DEMING, Staff writer
First published: Thursday, June 16, 2005
SARATOGA SPRINGS -- Several anti-smoking organizations spoke out Tuesday about the influence of tobacco advertisements on children and the prevalence in local stores.
"The tobacco industry is launching a public relations campaign to show they have changed," said Janine Stuchin, project manager for Southern Adirondack Tobacco Free Coalition, which serves Saratoga, Warren and Washington counties. "We think it's business as usual."
In partnership with the Capital District Tobacco Free Coalition, the Rip Van Winkle Coalition, Project ACTION and the Rural Three Tobacco Free Coalition, Stuchin's group released the first phase of it "Retail Advertising of Tobacco Survey" performed throughout New York state.
The survey documented cigarette advertising on the exterior and interior of retail outlets, cigarette prices and promotions of popular brands and compliance with state youth access laws.
"Advertising has been shown to be more influential on teens than peer pressure," said Stuchin.
The Capital Region ranked highest in the state in average number of tobacco ads displayed inside convenience and grocery stores with 19.5 stores. The survey is being conducted by the Research Triangle Institute, an independent organization, under contract from the New York State Department of Health Tobacco Control Program.
The anti-tobacco organizations' representatives challenged members of the community to "Stop and see what ads are out there," said Judy Rightmyer, program manager for the Capital District Tobacco Free Coalition.
The groups also asked the owners to stop displaying cigarette advertisements at their stores, especially at a child's eye level.
Stuchin spoke of a recent experience she had with a local grocer, and his rejection of her request to remove a tobacco advertisement from in front of his shop's counter. "If 20 more people go into that grocery store, then he's going to have to find a different answer," Stuchin said.
The representatives said they would like to work with large, local chains, such as Price Chopper and Stewart's, to reduce the number of smoking advertisements. "We'd be very interested to work with them and ask for a policy change in their stores," said Stuchin. "That could pave the way for smaller stores."
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Agreement reached to eliminate tobacco
advertising from school library editions of
Time, Newsweek, People and Sports Illustrated
Department of Law
New York, NY 10271
Department of Law
The State Capitol
Albany, NY 12224
For Immediate Release
June 20, 2005
For More Information:
Attorney General Spitzer today announced that the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) has reached an agreement with two national magazine publishers to eliminate tobacco advertising from school library editions of four major magazines with high youth readerships. The agreement was reached with Time, Inc. (which publishes Time, People and Sports Illustrated), and Newsweek, Inc. (which publishes Newsweek).
This agreement is the latest step in a continuing effort by the Attorneys General to reduce youth exposure to tobacco advertising. In November 2003, the Attorneys General reached an agreement with the major tobacco companies to eliminate tobacco advertising from special "classroom" editions that the publishers create for use in school social studies classes, such as Time and Newsweek. In 2003, the tobacco companies agreed to arrange for "selective binding" of these editions, to ensure that all tobacco advertisements would be removed from these "classroom" copies.
Numerous school libraries, however, subscribe to the regular editions of magazines, rather than the special "classroom" editions. As a result, many elementary and secondary school students are exposed to tobacco advertising when they read magazines in their school libraries. The agreement announced today will help eliminate such advertising from the school library copies of four magazines with very high youth readerships – Time, Newsweek, People and Sports Illustrated.
"This is a major success in our continuing efforts to reduce the marketing of tobacco products to children," said New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. "I want to applaud Time and Newsweek for joining this effort and helping to remove tobacco advertisements from the school library editions of these magazines. "
"This is another important step," said Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, co-chair of NAAG's Tobacco Committee. "About 2,000 kids become newsmokers every day, and about a third of them will eventually die prematurely from smoking-related disease. Every step we take is important to reduce this terrible death toll."
"I thank Time, Inc. and Newsweek, Inc. for the responsible way they have responded to our concerns about tobacco advertising in school library editions of their magazines," Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, co-chair of NAAG’s Tobacco Committee said. "Reduced youth exposure to tobacco advertising is in the public interest and in the best interests of our children."
The agreement announced today was aided by the efforts of youth working under the auspices of the New York State Department of Health Tobacco Prevention Program. These volunteers conducted a statewide survey of 223 middle and high schools in New York, and found that more than 70% of the school libraries had copies of Time, Newsweek, People and Sports Illustrated with tobacco advertising. Moreover, school librarians confirmed that all four magazines are among the most popular magazines read by children in the schools.
Attorney General Spitzer then wrote to the major tobacco companies in March 2005, asking them to seek "selective binding" arrangements to remove their tobacco advertising from the school library editions of these magazines. At the same time, Attorney General Spitzer’s office contacted the magazines’ publishers, requesting that they permit this "selective binding" option.
In response, Philip Morris reported that it had previously ceased all advertising in these four magazines, and two other tobacco companies – Santa Fe Natural Tobacco and U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company – agreed to seek such "selective binding" arrangements. Meanwhile, Time, Inc. and Newsweek, Inc. both agreed to create a "selective binding" option for all tobacco companies, thereby ensuring that all tobacco advertisements will be removed from these four magazines. These arrangements will be in place this summer, prior to the commencement of the new school year.
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We should do more to keep kids from turning into smokers
Smoking is a dangerous, nasty addiction -- as nasty as the people who have no qualms about seeking new markets for tobacco products.
The other day, state attorneys general, including New York's, were able to boast a small victory in the battle against smoking ads aimed at teenagers. The special mini-editions of Time, Newsweek, People and Sports Illustrated magazines in school libraries will be eliminated under a nationwide agreement among publishers, tobacco companies and states attorneys general.
Hold your applause, though. The publishers and tobacco companies had already agreed in 2003 to not advertise in classroom editions of the magazines. That a separate fight was necessary over school library editions should remind the public that trying to stop the marketing of cigarettes to kids is a battle every step of the way.
The tobacco companies are in the business of selling their product, and that means finding new markets. A ripe target for recently discussed 'flavored' cigarettes is the youth market.
It is legal to sell cigarettes to adults. It is legal to buy them if you're 18 or older.
But it is unconscionable to direct promotions at youth.
'About 2,000 kids become new smokers every day, and about a third of them will eventually die prematurely from smoking-related disease,' Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, co-chairman of the association's Tobacco Committee, told The Associated Press in announcing the library magazine agreement. 'Every step we take is important to reduce this terrible death toll.'
Janine Stuchin, project manager of the Southern Adirondack Tobacco-Free Coalition, told The Saratogian last week that her group is trying to convince stores to not set up tobacco sales in ways that target kids. One store, for instance, had stuffed animals atop the cigarette display.
'I'm confident things will look different in the next few years,' Stuchin said. 'Speak up when you go into stores and realize the candy is next to the cigarette ads. When the public speaks up, things will change.'
She is right. Every voice helps: the public, legislators and attorneys general must be a force to discourage, if not prevent, tobacco companies from sucking teens into this deadly habit.
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