Olympia -11/10/03- Major tobacco companies have agreed to remove cigarette and smokeless tobacco advertisements from the editions of Time, Newsweek, and U.S. News and World Report that are sent into classrooms for use by students, according to Attorney General Christine Gregoire.
Gregoire welcomed the move by Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp., Philip Morris USA Inc., R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., and U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co.
"Millions of kids read these magazines in their schools every week," Gregoire said. "We are pleased that the companies have responded favorably to our request that they discontinue their ads in these school editions. This will significantly reduce our kids' exposure to tobacco advertising."
The magazines' school programs, known as Time Classroom, Newsweek Education Program, and U.S. News Classroom Extension Program, distribute hundreds of thousands of copies of the magazines to high school and middle school classrooms in the United States each week.
For example, about 300,000 copies of Newsweek are distributed to participating classrooms and each copy is read by an average of 3.5 students, representing an estimated total audience of one million students for Newsweek's classroom program alone.
The four tobacco companies had placed approximately 120 cigarette and smokeless tobacco ads in these three magazines from January 2002 through June 2003. Major magazine publishers employ a process called "selective binding" or "copy split," which allows advertisers to place their ads in certain copies of the magazine and not in other copies.
In June, the Tobacco Enforcement Committee of the National Association of Attorneys General wrote to the four companies, asking that they make arrangements with the publishers to ensure that their tobacco ads did not appear in the classroom editions. Discussions with the companies led to each company's commitment to eliminate its ads from those editions.