Philip Morris offers to back ad restrictions

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Philip Morris USA today said it would support legislation offering major new advertising curbs on tobacco companies in return for a guarantee that the Food & Drug Administration would drop its plan to regulate all tobacco advertising.

Joining with U.S. Tobacco Co, the largest seller of smokeless tobacco, PM said it was making the offer to President Clinton in the hopes of speeding action to curb youth smoking.

"A federal law makes sense because it can be implemented quickly, avoiding protracted litigation," said Steve Parrish, senior VP-corporate affairs, Philip Morris Cos. The company said it would support:

-Banning of tobacco outdoor boards within 1,000 feet of a playground or school.
-Banning tobacco ads on mass transit.
--Limiting of stadium signage to motor sports or rodeos.
--Limiting event sponsorship to motor sports, rodeos or events with at least 75% attendance by people over 18.
--Limiting tobacco ads to publications where 85% of subscribers are over 18.
--Banning the sale or distribution of non-tobacco items like caps, T-shirts or gym bags carrying brand logos.
The restrictions were offered along with other steps aimed at youth smoking, including a ban on vending machines and on cigarette packs with less than 20 cigarettes.

PM had previously objected to similar proposals from the FDA as blatantly unconstitutional. Mr. Parrish said these new proposals were more narrowly tailored, and that the company would not challenge them.

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