Publisher won't sell prevention program if tobacco company pays the bill
DEERFIELD, Mass. (AP) A company best known for publishing easy-to-read pamphlets on health and medical issues is refusing to sell a youth anti-smoking program because a tobacco company would be paying the bill.
Philip Morris USA has put up $11 million for grants to school districts in 18 states to buy LifeSkills Training, a program designed to help students make decisions about smoking, drugs, sex and violence.
The Channing L. Bete Co., which markets and distributes the program, this month turned down a $500,000 offer from a ''state government customer'' to buy program supplies after company officials learned the money was coming from Philip Morris, said Bete president and CEO Michael Bete.
Bete refused to further identify the buyer.
''There is so much need for smoking prevention,'' Bete said. ''But we've got to remember that the way Philip Morris is going to front LifeSkills Training is by selling cigarettes.''
But Philip Morris said it plans to study the program.
''Our goal is to get LifeSkills Training into as many schools as possible,'' said Mary Carnovale, spokeswoman for New York-based Philip Morris. ''The decision not to accept our money for it could only diminish the impact the program would have.''
Bete did say his Deerfield-based company would accept funds from the $206 billion federal settlement with the seven major tobacco companies who agreed to not target youths in advertising and to pay for $12.5 billion in anti-smoking initiatives.