Crackdown on cigarette advertising

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President Clinton will use a 1:30 p.m. press conference Thursday to unveil proposed major new restrictions on tobacco advertising and regulation of the industry by the Food and Drug Administration.

A copy of the proposed rules obtained by Advertising Age show they cover cigarettes and smokeless tobacco (though not pipe tobacco) and include both a ban on the use of tobacco brands in event sponsorship and major restrictions on normal advertising.

Among details:

--Outdoor advertising and point of sale would be limited to black and white text-only advertising, and outdoor would be totally banned within 1,000 feet of schools and playgrounds.
--Magazine advertising would be restricted to black and white text-only advertising in any publication that had 15% readership by youth or more than 2 million youthful readers, whichever is less.
--Direct mail advertising would be limited to tombstone style ads, similar to those in magazines.
--All ads would have to contain a warning that cigarettes are "a nicotine delivery system" and an additional warning to the effect that "About one of three children who become smokers will die from their smoking."
--Giveaways of products carrying a tobacco brand name or product identification would be banned, as would lotteries or contests where the entry fee is a cigarette purchase. The program specifically eliminates Camel Cash and Marlboro Miles.

In addition the industry would be expected to fund a $150 million annual educational program.

The proposed rules acknowledge "there will be short-term impacts" on tobacco advertisers, but claims that it would be less that one-half of one percent of the amount spent on U.S. media advertising.

While the president is to unveil the proposal Thursday, the rules may be more an opening stance for negotiation with the industry than actual rules designed to go into effect. The president has said he wants an agreement that prevents years of court battles.

Advertising groups on Wednesday were livid at the restrictions, which they said violate the First Amendment and go well beyond rights of the FDA.

Copyright August 1995 Crain Communications Inc.

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