The Federal Trade Commission today called for a ban on cigar ads on radio and TV, new health warnings on cigar labels and all remaining cigar ads, and restrictions on self-service cigar displays. The action was a surprise. The FTC had been expected merely to issue a report requested by Congress detailing cigar sales and ad trends that was similar to reports it has done yearly for cigarettes and smokeless tobacco. The agency said it felt there was no justification for treating cigar packaging or advertising differently from other tobacco. Cigar makers spent just $325,000 on radio and TV ads in 1997, compared with $10.5 million on magazines and newspapers. The biggest chunk of advertising and promotion, $16.3 million, went to promotional allowances.
Copyright July 1999, Crain Communications Inc.