Pennsylvania Health Secretary Calls on Food Merchants Association To Discourage Use of Billboard Ads for Tobacco Sales
HARRISBURG, Pa., Nov. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- State Department of Health Secretary Robert S. Zimmerman today asked the Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association to discourage its members from using billboards to advertise cigarette prices.
Zimmerman said the billboards entice youth under the age of 18, who are more likely to purchase tobacco products when the price is lower.
``National data demonstrates that youth under the age of 18 are very sensitive to the price of tobacco products,'' Zimmerman said, in a letter to David McCorkle, President and Chief Executive Officer of the association. ``However unintended, low-priced cigarette advertising such as this presents a clear enticement to youth.''
Secretary Zimmerman said that promoting cigarette prices also violates the spirit of the national tobacco Master Settlement Agreement and has significant public health implications.
The Master Settlement Agreement contains a provision that bans billboard advertising of cigarettes by the tobacco industry. This provision also forbids the industry's authorization of other companies from advertising their cigarette brands.
Zimmerman noted that billboard advertising of cigarettes sends a message to Pennsylvania's kids that contradicts the state's current billboard campaign to discourage youth tobacco use.
For more information, contact George Yanoshik or Amy Riggleman, 717-787-1783, both of the Pennsylvania Department of Health.