- [Open Letter to Editor, Wired Magazine]
- March 31, 1999
- CONTACT: Scott Goold at 505.293.2504
- Dear Editor:
I, like millions, love your magazine and the important information.
You are an industry leader. Yet I fail to understand why you assist
the tobacco industry. I have included a couple of articles for you to
consider. You know, society may one day hold companies like yours
responsible as well. You are setting standards for people. You are
telling our youth that these practices are safe and acceptable. Are
you sure you want to further this message -- just to make money?
Magazine Flourishes Despite Rejecting Tobacco Ads
MEN'S HEALTH magazine was recently nominated for the National
Magazine Award for general excellence, and has seen its
circulation increase by 500 percent since 1991.
The magazine, and its publisher Rodale Press, has accomplished these despite a
policy against running tobacco or alcohol ads.
The Publishers Information Bureau says the biggest increase in magazine ad
spending in the first two months of 1999 was from tobacco
companies, which spent $58.8 million in January and February, up
MEN'S HEALTH competitors GQ and ESQUIRE each
received over $4 million from tobacco companies in 1998.
Rodale Press' other publications include PREVENTION, NEW WOMAN,
BICYCLING and RUNNER'S WORLD.
Rodale bought NEW WOMAN in 1997
and immediately cut off all tobacco and alcohol ads, costing the
magazine $3 million in revenue. NEW WOMAN editor Judith Coyne
commented on the loss of revenue from tobacco and alcohol ads,
"It's a challenge. But as an editor it's very liberating in a
certain way because you don't feel implicit or explicit
pressures. . . and it's not a problem as far as readership
- Reuters, (3/29/99) "Men's Health Magazine Smokes Without Butts, Booze Ads", Gail Appleson
- Jury Awards $81M in Tobacco Lawsuit
- (Excerpts from The Associated Press)
PORTLAND, OR --- In the biggest liability verdict ever against
the tobacco industry, a jury ordered Philip Morris to pay $81 million
Tuesday to the family of a man who died of lung cancer after
smoking Marlboros for four decades.
The victory by the wife and children of Jesse Williams was the
second major hit against Philip Morris this year. A San Francisco
jury awarded $51.5 million last month to a Marlboro smoker who
has inoperable lung cancer.
The jury awarded $1.6 million in compensatory damages and
$79.5 million in punitive damages.
"It will make the stocks go down," said Gary Black, an industry
analyst with the New York brokerage firm Sanford C.
Bernstein & Co. "This will persuade the industry to start thinking
the tide may be turning."
The Williams family alleged the company knew its cigarettes
could cause cancer.
Testimony portrayed Williams, a former janitor with the
Portland school system, as a three-pack-day Marlboro smoker who
believed the manufacturer wouldn't sell a harmful product and
who was heavily addicted to nicotine.
Williams died in 1997 just five months after he was diagnosed with
small-cell carcinoma of the lungs. He was 67 and left behind a wife,
Mayola, and six adult children.
Family members hugged their lawyers after the verdict was
read, but had no immediate comment.
The 12-member Circuit Court jury, which included three smokers
and four former smokers, spent a little more than two days reviewing
a month of technical and often conflicting testimony from experts
in such areas as cancer diagnosis, radiology and the chemistry of
In closing arguments in the Portland case, attorneys for the Williams
family cited internal Philip Morris documents to bolster their claim
that the company long knew about the cancer-causing potential of
cigarettes and hid that information from its customers.
Raymond Thomas called the tobacco company "willful, malicious,
sneaky" in its efforts to keep smokers hooked.
Cofer said Williams was well aware that smoking could harm his
health and had been warned of that by doctors and family members.
Cofer dismissed claims that Williams was addicted to nicotine as "psychobabble."
The lawyer said Williams could have quit "if he'd wanted to badly enough."
The tobacco industry reached a $206 billion legal settlement with states
in November, but cigarette makers still face individual and class-action claims.
- Thanks for your anticipated cooperation.
- Scott Goold, Director
1999 -- All Rights Reserved