Free book covers ... with Phillip Morris logo ... rejected
REDDING, Calif. - Despite their anti-smoking message, thousands of book covers distributed by tobacco company Phillip Morris will not be given to area high school students.
Both the Shasta Union High School District and the Shasta County Department of Public Health's Tobacco Education Program said they found it objectionable for a tobacco company to give anything to children with its name on it.
"We got about 1,000 book covers and were about to hand them out, when we noticed the words 'Phillip Morris' on them," district Superintendent Mike Stuart said Monday. "We just don't think it's appropriate for a tobacco company to do that."
A representative for Phillip Morris could not be reached Monday. Phillip Morris is distributing more than 13 million book covers nationwide through Primedia's Cover Concept Marketing Services, according to Shasta County Public Health's Tobacco Education Program.
Stuart said the unsolicited book covers arrived last week at a local high school.
The book cover has a picture of a snowboarder soaring above a mountain. Below the snowboarder is the message "Think. Don't smoke." Also on the book cover in smaller type is a surgeon general's warning about smoking and the Phillip Morris copyright.
Stuart said just having the words Phillip Morris on the book cover was enough to make the district pass on handing them out.
"I don't think there was any intentional deception, but it just doesn't sit well," Stuart said, noting that some believe the snowboard looks either like a lighted match or a burning cigarette.
Rebecca Lourenco of the Tobacco Education Program said she does not believe Phillip Morris' anti-smoking message is genuine.
"Phillip Morris want us to believe that they have changed their way," Lourenco said. "This cover shows Phillip Morris will do anything to get its name in front of kids."