Debate and Issues Index

draft settlement

Tobacco Settlement: It Is Not What the Tobacco Industry Says It Is (continued -- page 2)

This section includes prohibition of "any athletic event between opposing teams in football, basketball, baseball, soccer, or hockey league". Does this mean they can sponsor All Star games?

Although there is a listed prohibition against sponsorship of concerts, there are also exceptions for Brown & Williamson to sponsor the GPC Country Music Festival or the Kool Jazz Festival.

These limitations, then, do not limit the Tobacco Industry nearly as much as first look.

The Tobacco Industry says the Settlement means an Elimination on Outdoor Advertising, Billboards, and Transit Advertisements: (III.(d), page 11) This section is titled "Elimination of Outdoor Advertising and Transit Advertisements", however, it is far from an elimination of all outdoor advertisements.

Outdoor advertising (II.(ii), page 5) is defined as signs and placards with exemptions that include:

-- any advertisement that is not larger than 14 square feet and is used in or on site of any retail establishment selling tobacco products or an Adult-Only Facility or Event.

-- any that are in or on the site of Adult-Only Facilities or Events (Adult-Only Facilities are defined as any facility or indoor or outdoor area where people are not allowed to enter who are underage of the age it is legal to purchase or possess cigarettes, whichever age is older - in Maine it is 18). The vast majority of outdoor advertisement for tobacco products is associated with retail establishments; this type of advertisement will continue.

This section includes a ban on billboards, which is a non-issue in Maine. It also includes a ban on transit advertising (ads placed on buses and taxis, for instance), which also minimally impacts Maine.

The Tobacco Industry says the Settlement means an End to Payments Related to Tobacco Products and Media: (III.(e), page 11-12) This provision was achieved already by the Minnesota settlement. In addition, the Tobacco Industry has denied that it pays for product placement in movies and television, so it doesn't appear they will be doing anything differently than they currently do. If they have denied paying for Leonardo DiCaprio to light up in "Titanic", it appears he will continue to light up, as will, therefore, other teen idols.

The Tobacco Industry says the Settlement means a Ban on Tobacco Brand Name Merchandise: (III.(f), page12) This section is labeled as a ban on tobacco brand name merchandise (such as apparel). However, there are some major exceptions that mean this is far from a ban. This "ban" includes exceptions for distribution (which includes selling or offering) of such materials:

-- by coupons or other items used by adults in connection with the purchase of tobacco;

--within adult-only facilities or events; or

-- to employees of tobacco companies. According to a Maine Bureau of Health 4/98 survey, about half of youth smokers in Maine have obtained a tobacco brand name merchandise within the past 30 days. Our youth will also tell you that the most common ways they obtain such apparel is through the first two venues listed above as exceptions to this ban, such as "Camel Cash" Catalogs using proofs of purchase to order brand name merchandise. Our youth do not obtain this merchandise by shopping for tobacco brand apparel off the racks in the Maine Mall. Tobacco brand name merchandise is therefore far from gone under this settlement.

Tobacco Industry says the Settlement means No Youth Access to Free Samples: (III.(g), page 12) This section bans the distribution of free samples of tobacco products to underage people (defined by the age to possess or purchase tobacco products, whichever is the maximum age - in Maine it is 18). Maine law already prohibits the distribution of free samples of tobacco to people under 18.

The Tobacco Industry says the Settlement means a Ban on Gifts to Underage Persons Based on Proofs of Purchase: (III.(h),page12) This section reiterates what is law in many states: tobacco brand merchandise that is obtained with proofs of purchase must include proof that the person is an adult. (In Maine, the law requires a photo identification for an i.d.) Such proof of purchase in this proposed settlement includes a driver's license or other government identification or a photocopy of such identification. A current "Camel Cash" Catalog fits this requirement, as it asks for a photocopy of a driver's license, State identification, or hunting license to accompany the proofs of purchase in order to obtain brand name merchandise. Therefore, this Settlement "ban" does not appear to significantly change current tobacco policies or State laws.

This type of law is also very difficult to enforce, as exemplified by the fact that many of our youth currently obtain tobacco apparel through this mechanism.

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