ADS CALL FOR LICENSING OF TOBACCO SALES

California Campaign Launched by American Lung Association

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Allowing Big Tobacco to self-regulate the sale of cigarettes is like
See the full ad.
letting a fox guard the henhouse, says a new ad campaign from the American Lung Association of California.

A print ad, from Paul Keye & Associates, Los Angeles, appeared Tuesday and is slated to appear again in the July 16 and 23 editions of California newspapers including the San Francisco Chronicle, the Sacramento Bee and the Oakland Tribune.

Fox with bib
The ad, showing a cartoon of a fox with a bib saying "Big Tobacco" attacking a henhouse, urges California communities to require that tobacco sellers be licensed.

"The tobacco industry is trying to make us believe it can regulate itself, and therefore, no further regulation is required," said

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Anne Kennedy, chair of the board of the American Lung Association of California, in a statement. "We know this effort to be a deadly joke as revealed by both internal tobacco industry documents and current activities that demonstrate the industry continues to target children with their addictive products."

Philip Morris
But leading cigarette maker Philip Morris USA said the ad doesn't reflect its position.

"[The ad] says the tobacco industry doesn't want regulation, but that's not Philip Morris' position," said Mark Berlind, associate general counsel for Philip Morris' government affairs division. "We are not arguing for self-regulation; we think there should be government regulation" that would include retailer and wholesaler licensing as part of a comprehensive program to ensure that cigarettes are not smuggled or counterfitted, practices that have escalated due to high cigarette taxes, he said.

The campaign launches in the wake of a California judge's decision last month to fine R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. $20 million for running cigarette ads in magazines with high youth readership.

R.J. Reynolds comment
"If the point of the ad is that cigarettes should not be sold to kids, we absolutely agree," said an RJR spokeswoman. "There are laws on the books in all 50 states that prohibit retailers from selling cigarettes to minors."

She added that RJR supports those laws and has participated -- along with other cigarette companies -- in programs such as "We Card" that teach retailers how to avoid selling tobacco products to underage customers.

"Through the billions of dollars California receives in Master Settlement Agreement payments and taxes levied on smokers," the RJR spokeswoman added, "the state should have more than enough funds to address the access issue."

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