SmokeLess States Urges Tobacco Company to End Doubletalk
CHICAGO, Feb. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- The SmokeLess States National Tobacco Prevention and Control Program of the American Medical Association urges the Philip Morris tobacco company to put an end to its doubletalk and stop marketing its products to children a
``This most recent public relations effort is nothing more than another attempt to enhance their corporate image and sway public opinion,'' said Thomas P. Houston, MD, director, SmokeLess States and an international expert on the effects of tobacco on the human body. ``The truth is their products are addictive, destructive and deadly, and their marketing reaches underage audiences.''
Despite claims that it does not market to children, Philip Morris has advertised in recent months in numerous magazines with high readership among young people, including: Sports Illustrated, Rolling Stone, Hot Rod, Glamour, Vibe, Sport, Motor Trend, Spin, and Mademoiselle. According to a market research bureau, these magazines have youth readership totaling either more than two million or more than 15 percent of the magazine's overall readership.
While Philip Morris says publicly it supports youth tobacco prevention, it and other tobacco companies spend $15.5 million a day -- $5.6 billion a year - - marketing their deadly products; much of this marketing is conducted in places where it can have an impact on young people.
Furthermore, tobacco industry internal correspondence documents the industry's historic dependence on youth smoking. The following are quotes from tobacco industry internal documents that became public following litigation with the tobacco industry:
-- "... the ability to attract new smokers and develop them into a young adult franchise is key to brand development." (Philip Morris document 32044895379/484, 1992)
-- "Because of our high share of the market among the youngest smokers, Philip Morris will suffer more than the other companies from the decline in the number of teenage smokers." (Philip Morris document #1000390803/0855, March 1981.)
-- "It is important to know as much as possible about teenage smoking patterns and attitudes. Today's teenager is tomorrow's potential regular customer, and the overwhelming majority of smokers first begin to smoke while in their teens ... it is during the teenage years that the initial brand choice is made." (Special Report, "Young Smokers: Prevalence, Trends, Implications, and Related Demographic Trends," Philip Morris document #1000390803/55, March 1981.)
-- Marlboro's phenomenal growth rate in the past has been attributable in large part to our high market penetration among young smokers ... 15 to
19 year-olds ... my own data, which includes younger teenagers, shows even higher Marlboro market penetration among 15 to 17-year-olds. (Philip Morris document #1000024921/4927, May 1975.)
About 3,000 children a day begin smoking. Statistics show one-third of them will die from it. Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death and disease in the United States. Annually, it causes 430,000 deaths and costs the nation approximately $50-73 billion in medical expenses alone.
The SmokeLess States National Tobacco Prevention and Control Program is a national, private sector initiative whose purpose is to reduce or prevent the use of tobacco especially among children and teenagers. It is administered by the American Medical Association in Chicago, Illinois and funded by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in Princeton, New Jersey. It is the largest non-government-funded national effort in tobacco prevention and control. Currently, 27 states and two cities participate in this effort.