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Mississippi, the first state to settle a claim against tobacco marketers, is seeking an ad agency to handle a $12 million to $15 million two-year effort state Attorney General Michael Moore hopes will set a trend.

"We have done a nine-monthlong research process on teen-age smoking and teen-age tobacco use and have come up with some different information from that used in Florida, Arizona, Massachusetts and other states," Mr. Moore said.

"We will be sharing the information with our advertising agency," he said in promising a campaign that will be different from those of the other states.

Mississippi's $15 million in advertising is part of a $62 million pilot program that was included in the $4 billion settlement Mr. Moore negotiated with tobacco makers.


Since reaching the settlement, Mr. Moore has created a joint combination of state, health and public groups called the Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi to run the campaign and offer grants for various anti-smoking programs.

"We think we have to try to do everything . . . to have a true pilot program," he said. "We want to try a lot of different things, see what works and then replicate those programs."

Mississippi settled its case shortly after Mr. Moore led state attorneys general in negotiating a $368 billion national accord on June 20, 1997, that anticipated congressional action. The national accord fell apart after health groups demanded greater concessions from tobacco companies.

Mr. Moore said an Aug. 14 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit in Richmond, Va., overturning the Food & Drug Administration's authority to regulate tobacco is exactly what the attorneys general were trying to avoid.

"I don't know how many times we told Congress that dynamics would change if they continued to make it a waiting game. Now my prognostication has proved accurate and the dynamics have changed. It has left us with a weaker hand. We were much stronger June 20 than we are today."

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