Ad Urges Tobacco Workers to Quit
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - Quit your job!
That's the message the state of Florida is sending in full-page newspaper ads directed at tobacco company employees.
The ad - part of a state campaign to reduce teen-age smoking - was published Thursday in Charlotte, N.C., Louisville, Ky., New York and Richmond, Va., where Philip Morris Inc., R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. have corporate offices or nearby plants.
The campaign is funded by the state's $11.3 billion settlement with cigarette makers and is administered by the Health Department.
The ads, costing $129,617, incorporated Take Our Daughters to Work Day, which was Thursday.
``On Take Your Daughter to Work Day, Would You?'' the ads began. ``Today 3,000 young people will start smoking. 1,200 people will die from tobacco. And someone, somewhere will decide they've had enough of working for the tobacco industry. We'd like to make sure it's a decision that doesn't go unnoticed.
``So if you're out there, please call 1(866)929-9222, and let your daughter see you for what you really are. A hero.''
The ads show an image of a worker on a cigarette assembly line.
The ads were placed in Charlotte's Creative Loafing weekly, The Courier-Journal in Louisville, the national edition of The New York Times and the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Philip Morris supports Florida's campaign to reduce youth smoking, but ``this ad doesn't appear to be consistent with those goals,'' said spokesman Tom Ryan.
``Spending Florida's settlement funds and tax dollars to attack employees of the tobacco industry isn't appropriate or necessary,'' Ryan said. ``We're very proud of our employees and the contributions they make not only to our business but to the community as well.''
The state hopes to run advertisements featuring current or former tobacco company employees who respond to the appeal to quit, said Frank Penela, Health Department communications director.
Since Florida reached its settlement with the cigarette makers in 1997, it has run a series of funny TV commercials poking fun at tobacco companies. The commercials are credited with helping to reduce teen smoking in Florida.
``Our hope is that they do grow a conscience and decide that that is the right thing to do,'' Penela said.
By mid-morning Thursday, 13 people had left messages at the toll-free number, including two current or former tobacco company employees who left phone numbers and an irate tobacco company employee, said Neydy Gomez, an executive at Crispin, Porter and Bogusky, the agency that created the ad.
Brown & Williamson spokesman Mark Smith said no one he knows at the company's Louisville offices was talking about the ad.
``You would think an advertisement is supposed to get somebody to do something. If that's the case, than the ad fired a blank,'' Smith said. ``I can tell you right now, I love my job and I respect my company and I think everyone here feels very similar.''
R.J. Reynolds had no comment.