Citizens for Clean Air and Clean Lungs

Brown & Williamson Violates Master Settlement Agreement in Albuquerque
  Contact: Scott Goold, CCAA Director
  June 22, 1999

Albuquerque (CCAA) -- A billboard owned and updated by Brown & Williamson tobacco company located in Albuquerque is in violation (see image below) of the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA). Members of the CCAA and MASCOT (Multicultural Advocates for Social Change On Tobacco) discovered the billboard Monday, June 21st. The coalition members do not know how long the billboard advertisement has been in place.

Multiple Tobacco Ads Here
Plateau Convenience Store
2124 San Mateo NE in Albuquerque

Coalition members spoke with the attendant-on-duty at the Plateau Gas and Convenience store about the billboard. The gentleman was unaware that the advertisement violated the law. He was cooperative and gave us the name and phone number of the store's manager.

Nick Spilca, manager of Plateau Gas and Convenience store, called the CCAA headquarters shortly after the visit. He told us that he does not own the billboard or have control over the content. He stated that the Brown & Williamson tobacco company owns the billboard.

The CCAA received a call from Glenn Smith, New Mexico Attorney General's office. Mr. Smith is forwarding our information to the national Attorneys General review board.

The MSA specifies that any outdoor advertising may not exceed 14 square feet. It also states that ads less than 14 sq. ft. may not be placed in proximity to each other as to form a "mosaic" or larger image. This practice is referred to as "tiling" (see example #1 below).

Tiled Tobacco Ad Image Here
Example #1
Tiled Image on Billboard -- Violation of the MSA

Due to the efforts of the CCAA, the local tobacco control coalition MASCOT, and the New Mexico Attorney General's office, Brown & Williamson agreed to remove the advertisement. The spot was displayed for about 6 weeks.

The CCAA asked that Brown & Williamson be penalized for their violation for the recently signed settlement. We made a simple and common-sensical request. We asked that tobacco control representatives be allowed to run a counter tobacco advertisement for a period of twelve weeks. As such, we would have received two days of advertising for every day Brown & Williamson violated the agreement.

In a letter received August 11th, Glenn Smith reported to the interested parties that the Attorney General's office was not prepared to take further action against Brown & Williamson. While we are happy this incident is resolved, we are thoroughly disappointed the NM Attorney General's office is unwilling to stand up to Brown & Williamson.

Keep in mind that each day an estimated 1,300 Americans die from tobacco-related illnesses and disease. In the six week period that Brown & Williamson ran their spot, another 57,000 U.S. citizens died. This body count is greater than the total number of deaths attributed to the Vietnam Conflict. We have now build a memorial to honor our War Heros, yet we continue to patronize big tobacco.

The tobacco industry provided the terms of the MSA, and they demanded that states sign the document without sufficient time for leaders and the public to review the terms. There can be no tolerance for violations of the settlement, particularly since the public received so few accommodations!

To review the New Mexico Attorney General's office response, click on the pages listed below:
  Page One [27K]
  Page Two [7K]

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