Debate and Issues Index

draft settlement

Tobacco Settlement: It Is Not What the Tobacco Industry Says It Is (continued page 3)

The Tobacco Industry says the Settlement means a Limitation on Third-Party Use of Brand Names: (III.(i),page12) This section limits third party use of tobacco brand names, but also has an exemption (III.(c),(3),(C),A., page 10) pertaining to third parties involved in sponsorship events. In other words, a third party that is involved in a sponsorship event (NASCAR, for instance) can use tobacco brand names on merchandise such as apparel that is marketed by them at the site of the events.

The Tobacco Industry says the Settlement means a Minimum Pack Size of Twenty Cigarettes: (III.(k),page 13) Small pack sizes (such as packs of 5 or 10 rather than the standard 20) are a major attraction to youth and young adults who are not yet wholly addicted. This section requires a minimum pack size of twenty cigarettes through 12/31/01. States may pass legislation to require a minimum pack size on an ongoing basis, without opposition by the participating manufacturers. However, this legislation may be very difficult to pass since grocer organizations and others are likely to oppose it, particularly if surrounding states have not passed such legislation.

If the Tobacco Industry is truly interested in reducing youth smoking, as they say they are, why is a minimum pack size not in the settlement beyond 2001?! Fortunately, Maine requires minimum lot sizes of 20, passed in 1997!

The Tobacco Industry says the Settlement means they will Limit their Lobbying: (III.(m), page 13) No participating manufacturer may oppose the passage of state or local legislation which directly serves to decrease youth access to tobacco and to increase youth enforcement of tobacco laws. However, there are several exceptions, including for any excise tax increases (one of the most effective way to reduce youth smoking). Since Maine's youth access and enforcement laws are ahead of many other states; since meaningful strengthening of these laws would include bills to require point of service contact for tobacco sales and to disallow stand alone displays, and these type of bills are notoriously opposed by store owners (since they stand to lose the tobacco industry's payments for such displays); and since further criminalization of youth is not a tactic that works well to reduce youth smoking, these restrictions on lobbying will have little impact in Maine.

The Tobacco Industry says they will Dissolve the Tobacco Institute and the Council for Tobacco Research and the Center for Indoor Air Research: (III.(o), page15) This has already been done by existing litigation and settlements.

However, there are several ways (through the National Foundation and through several monetary arrangements) that the Tobacco Industry through this Settlement is setting up a partnership with elected officials throughout this country (especially the Attorneys General) which could result in entities more powerful than the Tobacco Institute they have already agreed to dismantle.

The Tobacco Industry says the Settlement means they will be Prohibited from Material Misrepresentations: (III.(r), page 17) This section disallows participating manufacturers from making misrepresentations of fact regarding the health consequences of using any tobacco product. However, there is nothing in this provision to keep them from misrepresenting the facts around the health issues of secondhand smoke. The tobacco industry has strongly fought the tide of research that not only shows secondhand smoke kills (some estimated 70,000 nonsmoking Americans every year) but also shows educating about secondhand smoke has a significant impact on prevention and cessation of tobacco use. Note that the National Foundation's purpose (section VI) circumvents completely the secondhand smoke issue.

The Tobacco Industry says the Settlement means more Disclosure of Industry Documents: (IV. Pages 17-18) This section does not provide for substantial tobacco document disclosures, unlike the Minnesota settlement. The Settlement permits states to continue to litigate for further disclosure of documents, so long as they apply for disclosure within 45 days. This makes further disclosures highly unlikely. Why haven't disclosures of these documents been made part of the Settlement? In addition, this Settlement calls for an indexing of existing public tobacco industry documents, but appears to be using an index which is not the preferred (easier to use) index.

The Tobacco Industry says the Settlement means they will Spend $1.45 Billion to Fund a National Foundation which will Reduce Youth Smoking: (VI. Pages 19-22) This Foundation is not a public health foundation, and will only set tobacco public health issues back years! In fact, it could become another Tobacco Institute (such as the one dissolved by this Settlement) with elected officials as partners with the Tobacco Industry!

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