The Buzz: The Tobacco Wars

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As part of the landmark 1998 settlement with 46 attorneys general, the Big Four tobacco companies agreed to keep cigarette ads away from kids.

But a study in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that the tobacco companies have found new real estate in which to target children: magazines.

Tobacco ads can be found in the pages of Rolling Stone, ESPN the Magazine and People — publications that each have well over 2 million readers under the age of 18.

According to Matt Myers, president of the National Center for Tobacco Free Kids, this "violates the letter and the spirit of the agreement."

The tobacco industry is responding. On Wednesday, Brown & Williamson announced that, "B&W ads will be carried only in those publications that are mailed to adults 21 years or older."  And Philip Morris has agreed not to advertise in magazines that have a readership of at least 15 percent or at least 2 million readers between the ages of 12 and 17 years.

But some critics, such as California Attorney General Bill Lockyer, say the industry is not going for enough.

"We want them to stop that practice and keep their promise," said Lockyer. "Get out of those magazine advertisements altogether. Stop marketing to kids."

Here’s what you had to say about the issue:

I think Bill is totally off base. Why are we only concerned with tobacco sales? Why not all of the teen binge drinking? So what they keep raising the drinking limit. How many children have died because of drinking?   Take Soda! The local schools all sell and market it to children. This stuff is poison to our bodies. Many many items are being marketed specifically toward children and tobacco isn't the only one that’s lethal.
Annette H.
Citrus Heights, CA

What nonsense! I read cigarette ads when I was a child. I am 48 and never smoked. Why not go after beer and all the drunk drivers killing people?
Alan R.

After what that goof said about the president's of energy companies he has zero credibility and does not deserve a national forum like your program for his rantings. Next time at least pick an AG with some credibility. Lockyear probably wants to put the head of Philip Morris in with the biggest, badest inmate too.
Dave A.
Woodstock, GA

I frankly as a citizen have become sick of the attorneys and the Government suing the tobacco companies! Everyone knew 50 years ago that smoking would kill you. What’s next! The Fast Food Industry for making people die of fat?
Palmetto, FL

Tell the AG to get off the tobacco companies back on "the agreement."   They need to see how much of the money that was paid by the tobacco companies actually went to the health programs and anti smoking programs as they promised.
Mr. AG...sweep your own back porch.
Phoenix, AZ

People are well informed of the dangers of smoking. The tobacco companies have paid settlements & are still being sued. It is a personal choice to smoke. For California, a State that is open to legalized drugs, I find them being "outraged" at smokers a bit hypocritical. California must be in dire straits economically & the tobacco companies are easy targets. The way I see it; You choose to smoke then you choose the consequences.
Robbie C.
Canton, TX

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