NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Debate Arises Over Effectiveness of Philip Morris Anti-Smoking Ads

May 31, 2002

The Philip Morris Companies spend more than $100 million a year on television ads imploring youths not to smoke. But a group called the American Legacy Foundation, created as part of the 1998 tobacco settlement and the nation's largest anti-smoking advertiser, says the ads are not effective -- and in fact may even make kids more open to the idea of smoking. Philip Morris contends the ads are effective.

In other news from the teen anti-smoking front:

  • A nationwide survey last year found that 29 percent of high school students said they had smoked in the previous month -- down from 36 percent in 1997.
  • Cornelia Pechmann, a marketing professor at the University of California-Irvine, say simply telling rebellion-prone teenagers not to smoke can make it more appealing -- and lecturing them on the long-term health consequences is also of little use.
  • The Lorillard Tobacco Co. claims the "truth" ads generated by American Legacy "vilify" tobacco companies -- in violation of the 1998 tobacco settlement, and is suing.
  • American Legacy denies the charge and is, in turn, suing Lorillard.

Source: Gordon Fairclough, "Study Slams Philip Morris Ads Telling Teens Not to Smoke," Wall Street Journal, May 29, 2002.


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