No Anti-Cig Ad Windfall In Fla. Plan: Only 35% Of $200 Mil Education Effort Is Allocated To Advertising

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The hope that ad and media companies would offset tobacco ad losses with gains in anti-tobacco ads is getting a dash of reality, as the first state to get tobacco money sets aside just a third of its "education" fund for media advertising.

Florida, whose earlier $11.3 billion settlement with tobacco marketers called for the funding of a $200 million two-year pilot anti-smoking education program, last week chose to allocate $70 million to advertising and use the rest for other kinds of efforts, including law enforcement.

AD ALLOCATION UNCERTAIN

There is still uncertainty about that expenditure, as the ad spending must first win legislative approval.

"The Legislature has not been interested in an enormous ad campaign," said Peter K. Mitchell, policy coordinator for the Florida Senate, in suggesting spending of 50% to 90% of the $70 million could be more likely.

Gov. Lawton Chiles has yet to get the Legislature to approve his proposal to spend $15 million in various programs, including advertising, for the first six months of the proposed campaign.

NATIONAL HOPES

Nationally, an agreement that tobacco marketers reached with state attorneys general calls for spending $500 million a year in an educational effort. There has been speculation the media would benefit from that, since much of the $1.1 billion currently spent annually on tobacco advertising and point of purchase will dry up.

Tobacco marketers spend additional money on merchandise giveaways, which would also be stopped.

Ad groups offered no criticism of the Florida plan, however.

"That $70 million is an enormous amount of money to be spending in a state," said Hal Shoup, exec VP of the American Association of Advertising Agencies. "Spending $50 million on a national campaign is very healthy."

But he reiterated Four A's has other concerns in the tobacco debate, including New York City's proposed restrictions (AA, Jan. 5).

The ordinance is expected to become law this week as New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani either signs it or lets it go into effect without his signature.

Ad groups see this ordinance as the ideal opportunity to go to court to send a message about the spate of tobacco and alcoholic beverage restrictions that local governments across the country are trying to institute.

N.Y. HEARING

Last week at a public hearing, the ad groups urged Mr. Giuliani to veto the ordinance and instead enforce sales restrictions against selling to minors.

Mr. Giuliani at the hearing expressed concern that a major part of the ban would not be defensible in court, and that the ordinance didn't provide sufficient time for merchants to comply with the restrictions.

Contributing: Ira Teinowitz.

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