Olympia - June 5, 2000 - Washington Attorney General Christine Gregoire said today Philip Morris has volunteered to comply with proposed FDA rules regarding advertising in magazines with significant youth readership.
As a result of the decision, the tobacco company will pull advertising from 42 publications with a large youth readership, including Rolling Stone and Sports Illustrated.
Gregoire said Philip Morris also has agreed to stop advertising on highly-visible back covers of publications.
The decision by Philip Morris comes after months of discussions between the tobacco company and Attorneys General.
Gregoire, who is president of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG), said the decision by Philip Morris is a significant step in stopping marketing practices which reach youth by the tobacco industry.
A settlement agreement reached between tobacco companies and 46 states in 1998 prohibits the industry from marketing to children.
"One of the reasons we sued tobacco companies was to stop them from targeting kids to make them the next generation of smokers," Gregoire said.
"We are concerned about readers, not necessarily subscribers, and this is a major step toward reducing the exposure of our kids to the hard sell of tobacco," she added.
About 3,000 kids a day become addicted to tobacco and public health experts contend most people can avoid becoming smokers if they can be kept tobacco free through the age of 18.
In a letter to Gregoire, Philip Morris President Michael Szymanczyk said his company will suspend advertising in any publication whose readers younger than 18 years of age constitute 15 percent or more of the total readership or is read by more than 2 million persons younger than 18.
Those numbers are the standards set for defining adult publications by FDA's proposed tobacco rules.
Gregoire said Attorneys General will continue discussions with Philip Morris about how youth readership is measured and the reliability of those measurements.
While praising Philip Morris, Gregoire said other tobacco companies have not pledged to suspend advertising and that the Tobacco Committee of Attorneys General will continue an investigation into advertising practices by those companies.
I am pleased that Philip Morris has stepped forward and taken the responsible action," said NAAG Tobacco Committee Chair, North Dakota Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp. "I hope the other companies will do the same."
"This is a great step forward," said Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson, who chairs NAAG’s Master Settlement Agreement Enforcement Committee. "Because of this agreement, the opportunity for productive talks with the other manufacturers is improved dramatically."
The Tobacco Committee includes Attorneys General Heitkamp, Edmondson, John Cornyn of Texas and Mike Fisher of Pennsylvania, Bill Lockyer of California, and Betty Montgomery of Ohio.