Debate and Issues Archive

draft settlement

May 13, 1999
CONTACT: Scott Goold at 505.293.2504
Sent to:
Giant Refining Co.
Corporate Office
Attn: Mike Polo, Tobacco Marketing
23733 N. Scottsdale Rd
Scottsdale, AZ 85255

Dear Mr. Polo:
I direct a tobacco-reduction coalition here in New Mexico as well as serve with a number of other entities dedicated to reducing teenage smoking initiation. I would like to emphasize that we are not tobacco prohibitionists. We respect the adult priviledge of using tobacco -- although we encourage responsible use.

We devote a tremendous amount of time to reducing the amount of tobacco advertising in our community. While it may not be the specific intention of the tobacco industry or of local companies like Giant, advertising does work and it is extremely effective and attractive to our kids. A 1998 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that 34% of teen experimentation with smoking is directly attributable to tobacco advertising and promotion.

Businesses know...
Ads Work!

Kids Don't Understand
This Manipulation

We are learning more about the effects of tobacco advertising each day. According to speakers at a World Conference for Cancer Organizations meeting this week in Atlanta, Georgia, lung cancer rates are following tobacco advertising around the world.

In Western countries, where restrictions on marketing have tightened, lung cancer rates have declined. But in developing countries, particularly in those where women didn't previously smoke, lung cancer rates are increasing.

According to Michael Thun, vice president of the American Cancer Society, tobacco advertising is one reason lung cancer has overtaken stomach cancer as the leading cancer killer worldwide. "Rates have begun to fall in North America and northern Europe but are rising rapidly in southern Europe, Japan, Asia and developing countries and among women," said Thun. Epidemiology professor Witold Zatonski of Poland says that tobacco advertising in many countries is so attractive because it promotes the American dream.

We were watching your company as the April 23rd deadline for removing tobacco billboard advertising neared. We were disappointed that your company did not respect the terms of the settlement.

I initially reported the violation to our Attorneys General office. They followed up by submitting the information to the national office. In addition, I have been working with ABC News, Good Morning America, about the incident. It is my understanding that they will cover your company's activities, as well as those of the Wawa convenience store located in a number of eastern states, tomorrow morning (Friday, May 14th).

I wanted to alert you to this program as well as to our action. We have posted a story about your company's ads on our coalition Web site (here).

We have included a similar story on the MASCOT coalition Web site (here). We wish to emphasize that we will do what we can to help your company prosper in this area. We respect ethical businesses. Yet, we are committed to protecting our children, whether from gun play, violence or legal and illegal drugs.

We are asking your company to reflect about its role in our community. Making money is an important part of the American way of life. Yet, there must be ethical restraints to these endeavors. We ask that you do not consider future billboard tobacco advertising. In addition, we would appreciate it greatly if you would reevaluate your company's position on the amount of tobacco advertising throughout convenience stores in general.

I was in a Giant facility the other day taking pictures of the amount of advertising. The tobacco companies are aware that the advertising of these products does not entice smokers to switch brands. Therefore, these efforts must be to encourage initiation. It is your responsibility to ensure that the advertising does not influence underage youth. Can you tell me your company is meeting this ethical obligation?

I would love to open a dialogue with you regarding this area. Please feel free to contact me at your earliest convenience.


Scott Goold
CCAA Director