3M Media, one of the country's largest outdoor advertising companies, said it will stop taking new tobacco advertising and will not renew existing contracts. The move came after months of negotiations with the Interfaith Center of Corporate Responsibility and is the first in the outdoor field. Several magazines and newspapers refuse tobacco ads, and Knight-Ridder last year set a corporate policy against tobacco ads, though final decisions rest with each of its newspapers. However, 3M's could be the biggest move in terms of revenues. Nearly 3% of 3M's outdoor ad revenues came from tobacco accounts.
Tobacco critics called 3M's move a big first step and promised to take the fight to other outdoor companies. The Tobacco Institute, however, suggested the move merely represents 3M ceding business to its rivals. It also warned that the company is opening the door to similar pressure from groups that want to ban ads for alcohol, fast-food "and other politically incorrect" products.