Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids: In Super Bowl Ads

Philip Morris Continues to Dodge and Evade the Truth

Business Editors

WASHINGTON, D.C.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The following is a statement of Matthew L. Myers, president, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids:

“Philip Morris is again seeking to deceive the American people by running ads during the Super Bowl claiming that it does not want kids to smoke. Philip Morris’ ads are at best a PR distraction and at worst a deliberate attempt to undermine the real work being done to prevent America’s youth from becoming addicted to Philip Morris’ deadly products. What these ads won’t say is that more kids smoke Philip Morris’ Marlboro cigarettes than all other brands combined, and Philip Morris’ share of the youth market has actually increased since the company launched its so-called `youth smoking prevention’ campaign.

“Philip Morris’ real reason for spending hundreds of millions of dollars on this campaign is not to reduce youth smoking, but to deceive the public and policy makers so the company can continue to evade real change in its harmful practices. If Philip Morris were serious about reducing youth smoking, it would immediately stop this fraudulent campaign and take other steps that really would reduce the appeal of cigarettes to children, such as eliminating the Marlboro Man and other forms of advertising that impacts kids.

“On Super Bowl Sunday, like every other day in America, roughly 5,000 kids will try cigarettes for the first time. More than 2,000 additional kids will become regular, addicted smokers — one third of them will die prematurely as a result of smoking.

“When Americans tune in to watch the game between the Rams and the Patriots for the Super Bowl title on Sunday, they expect to see great athletes like Marshall Faulk and Tom Brady dodging defenders. But they should be on guard that Philip Morris, the world’s largest cigarette manufacturer, is using Super Bowl advertising to do some dodging of its own. Unfortunately, Philip Morris’s dodges are deadly.”

According to the 2000 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, 54.8 percent of current smokers age 12-17 report Philip Morris’ Marlboro as their usual brand.

CONTACT: Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids Joel Spivak or Michael Berman, 202/296-5469