Down with Cigarette Billboards
Over the last month, cigarette makers and outdoor advertising companies have been scrambling to meet the deadline.
By midnight on Thursday, every cigarette billboard in the country must come down as part of the $206 billion agreement reached last year between tobacco producers and 46 states to resolve all state claims for health costs related to smoking. Billboards were an extremely effective advertising medium that tobacco producers dominated for nearly 2 decades. Famous tobacco industry billboards included the Camel billboard in Times Square, the 64-foot-high cutout of the Marlboro Man over the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles, and the glowing neon billboards like that of the Newport brand sign not far from Yankee Stadium. For anti-smoking groups, the end of the cigarette billboard stands as a major victory. Such groups have long charged that cigarette makers carefully positioned outdoor advertisements near schools and playgrounds, and carpet-bombed minority neighborhoods with billboards because those areas had high smoking rates.