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MINN. PACT SURE TO IMPACT GIVEAWAYS

By Published on .

The tobacco industry's settlement with Minnesota will affect the $1 billion the Federal Trade Commission estimates the marketers spend annually on merchandise giveaways, but it's unlikely to make them disappear altogether, according to the Promotion Marketing Association.

The group is hoping tobacco companies merely shift from giving away products carrying tobacco brand names or colors to handing out branded products with their own appeal.

"This is a very strong injunction against using identifying premiums with a company logo, but you can use designer labels that are appealing in their own right," said Ron Goldbrenner, general counsel for the group. "You could still give away a Cross pen or a Tommy Hilfiger shirt."

Minnesota's agreement bars tobacco marketers from dispensing premiums of non-tobacco products that carry tobacco-product brand names, logos or unique brand colors. The ban takes effect at yearend and also applies to Florida, Mississippi and Texas, three states that earlier settled their own lawsuits against the industry.

"As more and more states sign on it may be impossible to produce" items with tobacco brand names, Mr. Goldbrenner said.

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