- [Letter to the Editor]
- February 11, 1999
- CONTACT: Scott Goold at 505.293.2504
- Dear Christopher Johnson:
- Editor and Publisher, Weekly Alibi
In the February 4-10th edition, there was an absence of tobacco advertising.
I thought -- for a moment -- that our letters and requests finally paid
off. I was sad to see in yesterday's weekly edition that there are again
full-page spots for both Winston and Marlboro.
Why is this? Is the Weekly Alibiunable to attract other funding?
Or does your publication believe that there is a need to provide readers
with such information?
Think about it, research shows that smokers are very unlikely to switch
brands. Once they select a cigarette, they stay with it probably for
the rest of their shortened lives. The tobacco companies are aware of this
marketing fact. So why do they advertise? You know as well as I do. They
advertise to attract new customers. Nearly 90% of all smokers begin before
they are 18 years of age. Most begin in the years between the ages of 11-14.
- Advertising Facts
- Eighty-six percent of kids who smoke prefer Marlboro, Camel and Newport.
These are the three most heavily advertised brands. Only about one-third
of adults choose these brands.
- Marlboro, the most heavily advertised brand, constitutes almost 60%
of the youth market, but only 25% of the adult market.
- Between 1989 and 1993, when advertising for the new Joe Camel campaign
jumped from $27 million to $43 million, Camel's share among youth increased
by more than 50%. Its adult market share did not change at all during this
- A study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found
that teens are more likely to be influenced by cigarette advertising than
they are by peer pressure.
- A study of California teens published in the Journal of the American
Medical Association (JAMA) found that tobacco promotional activities were
responsible for one-third of all smoking experimentation in California
between 1993 and 1996.
- A 1994 article published in JAMA documented a rapid and unprecedented
increase in the smoking initiation rate of adolescent girls subsequent
to the launch in the late 1960s of women's cigarette brands like Virginia
Okay, enough with the studies and facts, I am sure you are a bright guy
and that you are already aware of this information. So why does the Weekly
Alibiinclude the advertising?
We live in an average world with millions of average people and average
efforts. Can't I convince you to take a stand? Wouldn't you like to be one
who thinks differentlyand helps us build a better world?
One day our world will put tobacco in a small box. Adults will always
have the opportunity to smoke, but we will restrict advertising and availability.
We will look back on this time as a dark period in American capitalism.
Wouldn't you like to be a leader and pioneer in this movement? It takes
courage. It requires action from the heart rather from the head. It is rational
to accept cigarette advertising because it is both easy and lucrative. Yet
there is no question that it is morally wrong.
The tobacco industry spends approximately $6 billion a year on advertising
and marketing. The result is that 3,000 kids and teens pick up the habit
each day. The result is that over 500,000 Americans die each year. You and
I pay thousands of dollars in higher health care costs and taxes. Our friends
and family members pay with tragic diseases and death.
Please, Mr Johnson, make the right choice for America. Think differently
-- use your heart!
1999 -- All Rights Reserved