Sunday, July 02, 2006

Some Tobacco Companies Still Market To young People

By 2003 there was an agreement of tobacco companies to stop print advertising that promotes tobacco products to the young. But some clever tobacco industry lawyers have found a real clever way around this ban. Natural American Spirit a product of Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company has decided to pay newspapers around the nation that feature concert music listings that are regularly read by young audiences to include loose tobacco advertising.

Clever lawyers for this tobacco company may claim, that the advertising is not physically attached to the newspaper itself, so is therefore legal. But this is complete nonsense. These alternative newspapers have many young viewers, and this is little but a dirty little "lawyer trick" to evade the intent of all agreed to tobacco industry advertising bans to the young. The first thing that happens when these papers are opened up, the ad falls out and receives far more attention by young readers than normally expected.

And because Natural American Spirit is still a tobacco product, but without all the chemical additives of other tobacco products, hardly means that this product is much safer than other tobacco products. There is still warnings about "fetal injury", "premature birth", "low birth weight" and that "No additives in our tobacco does NOT mean a safer cigarette". In this case, "natural" hardly puts this deadly product in any league with healthy clean organic or natural food products. Tobacco products are still deadly to both user and nonuser alike. And tobacco smoke is a far worse form of environmental pollution and injury to nonusers than government has so far stated. With the procorporate vision of the Bush Administration, consumer defense and tightening regulations against corporate injuries to the public has not been a very high priority.

I was burnt and had a small housefire from a digital camera whose battery exploded due to defect. The Federal Government's Product Safety Commission was next to useless in resolving this. The company was more receptive, but wanted to examine the camera which meant giving up my evidence which I was unwilling to do, so nothing came of my burn injuries or housefire damage. This company simply skated.

And it seems that tobacco companies who still market their poisons to young people will only continue to skate during the Bush Administration years. Natural American Spirit Tobacco only continues to violate the "spirit" of any agreements to stop marketing tobacco products to young people. Teenagers still in high school who want to look up concert listings for when their favorite bands come to town will find themselves targets of this outrageous tobacco advertising to the young. Tobacco corporate lawyers are indeed a clever bunch.


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