PHILIP MORRIS: Teen Anti-Smoking Campaign Begins Monday
Philip Morris Co., the country's largest cigarette manufacturer, will begin Monday a $100 million television campaign aimed at discouraging youth smoking. The campaign, part of the recent $206 billion settlement between Big Tobacco and 46 states, also includes educational efforts and "programs to make it harder for youngsters to get cigarettes." Philip Morris spokesperson Ellen Merlo "said that her company wanted to act more quickly to reverse the recent reported rise in youth smoking." She said, "We feel strongly kids shouldn't smoke and we are taking what we hope is responsible action." The television spots will be the company's first since broadcast advertising of cigarettes was outlawed in 1971. Aimed at children ages 10 to 14, the ads bear the slogan "Think. Don't Smoke." ABC, FOX, Warner Brothers, TNT and the Cartoon Channel have all agreed to run the ads; CBS is still reviewing them and NBC has refused to air the ads.
Anti-tobacco groups say the company has ulterior motives for launching the campaign -- such as improving its image. Richard Daynard, chair of the Tobacco Products Liability Project, said, "I don't want to say it's impossible they could be acting in good faith because there is always a first time." But, he added, "there is a very delicate line in educating kids in the dangers of tobacco between encouragement and discouragement and I certainly don't trust Philip Morris to have walked the right side of that line" (AP/Winston-Salem Journal, 12/4).