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TOBACCO ADVERTISING BATTLE REACHES SCHOOL LIBRARIES

New Binding Allows Ads to Be Stripped Out of Magazines

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NEW YORK (Adage.com) -- Newsweek, Time, People and Sports Illustrated may soon arrive at school libraries stripped of the tobacco ads that appear in the magazines’ general print runs.
An ad from a recent issue of 'Time' magazine.

Under a new agreement between the magazines’ publishers and the National Association of Attorneys General, tobacco advertisers will be offered “selective binding” allowing them to have their ads pulled from school library copies at no additional cost.

Library subscriptions
A 2003 deal between publishers and tobacco companies already prevents tobacco ads from appearing in “classroom editions” of magazines like Time and Newsweek. But school libraries often subscribe to the regular editions.

A survey of 223 middle school and high school libraries by the New York State Department of Health’s Tobacco Prevention Program found that more than 70% had copies of Newsweek, Time, People and Sports Illustrated with tobacco ads.

The agreement was reached four months after New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer wrote to major tobacco companies and the publishers to ask for selective binding options for school libraries. “This is a major success in our continuing efforts to reduce the marketing of tobacco products to children,” Mr. Spitzer said in a statement.

Tobacco companies still retain control
Although Mr. Spitzer’s announcement said the new pact will “eliminate” tobacco advertising from school library copies of the four magazines, tobacco companies retain ultimate control over the outcome. Neither Newsweek nor Time Inc., which publishes People and Sports Illustrated as well as Time, will unilaterally remove tobacco ads from copies destined for school libraries; they will instead ask tobacco advertisers whether to remove their ads from those copies.

The option will be available to tobacco advertisers before the start of the new school year.

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