Huge anti-tobacco ad blitz sought

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Three U.S. senators, two Democrats and a Republican, called for a massive $750 million a year anti-tobacco use ad campaign in a bipartisan tobacco control bill unveiled today. It's unclear whether their proposals, which would also write into law stiff new curbs on tobacco advertising and marketing, will find their way into the tobacco bill being prepared by Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John McCain (R., Ariz.). That bill is expected to be the main tobacco bill put forward by the Senate's Republican leadership. The $750 million proposal is $250 million more than the annual sum for anti-tobacco education efforts in an agreement struck by tobacco marketers and state attorneys general. Funds would come from payments by tobacco companies and a $1.50 per-pack increase in cigarette taxes. The bill's sponsors, Sens. Tom Harkin (D., Iowa), Bob Graham (D., Fla.) and John Chafee (R., R.I.), said they envisioned "an intensive, sustained media campaign" developed and implemented by "preeminent advertising firms with proven expertise in the formulation of messages aimed to children."

Copyright March 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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