American Legacy Foundation April Fools’ Day Advertisement Touts Nicotine-Free Cigarettes
The American Legacy Foundation yesterday aired an advertisement touting a new cigarette with no carcinogens or nicotine and the slogan, "Get Addicted to Livin'," USA Today reports. The foundation, created in 1998 as part of the national tobacco settlement, promoted the fictitious cigarettes, called "Figment," as a "fake April Fools' Day 'product launch.'" In the ad, a "purported tobacco executive" walks through a laboratory and says, "Tobacco industry leaders met and agreed, together, that the time had come to create cigarettes free of poisons, carcinogens and addictive nicotine. These are cigarettes that we can offer the public with confidence and with pride." The ad then cuts to a screen with the text, "April Fools' Day." The spot ran on NBC, CBS, CNN, MTV, CNBC and other networks. Cheryl Healton, president of the foundation, said, "With this ad, we hope to remind the public that there is no such thing as a safe cigarette" (USA Today, 4/2).
Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal today examines global efforts to quell tobacco advertising. Representatives from 190 nations met last week in Geneva for the fourth-round of World Health Organization-sponsored talks to craft the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, an anti-tobacco global treaty. The Journal reports that the WHO would like the treaty to include bans on advertising and sponsorships. Several African countries are "leading the way," calling for "tight" restrictions. In the meantime, the U.S. Department of Justice announced last week that it will attempt to impose "broad restrictions" on tobacco advertising, including restricting ads to black and white, text-only formats with at least half the space devoted to "graphic health warnings." In addition, the Justice Department said it will seek to end tobacco trade promotions and giveaways and eliminate all cigarette vending machines. According to the Journal, tobacco company officials are claiming that the Justice Department's demands "go well beyond" restrictions outlined in the 1998 national tobacco settlement, and the industry has begun "fighting them aggressively." However, the Journal reports that some countries, including Japan, want to place fewer limits on tobacco advertising, which may result in a treaty "packed with alternatives, options and suboptions" (Galloni, Wall Street Journal, 4/2).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.