Date: Mon, Jun 11, 2001 4:54 PM
Subject: Cigarette & Smokeless Tobacco Reports
Below and attached in this e-mail are comments from the Minnesota Smoke-Free Coalition re: the FTC Cigarette and Smokeless Tobacco Reports. If you have problems with this e-mail, please contact Holly Ziemer at 651-999-5284.
June 11, 2001
Office of the Secretary
To the Commission:
On behalf of the Minnesota Smoke-Free Coalition, I am writing to urge the FTC to continue reporting on cigarette and smokeless tobacco companies expenditures to market and promote their deadly products. These reports are critically important for public health efforts to monitor the tobacco companies marketing activities, stop tobacco marketing to kids and to make the case for government investments in tobacco control (including public education and counter-marketing efforts) to reduce the toll of tobacco in the United States.
The Minnesota Smoke-Free Coalition is a diverse group of business, civic and social organizations dedicated to reducing the harm caused by tobacco in Minnesota. Information, like that provided in the FTC report on tobacco industry marketing expenditures, is the most effective tool we have to promote public policy that addresses tobacco reduction and to inform organizations, parents, policy makers and the general public about the issues surrounding tobacco use.
The Coalition estimates (based on population) that the tobacco industry spends $143 million in Minnesota each year marketing their addictive product, outspending the state by 19 to one. The
information provided by the FTC report is vital to educate legislators, the media and the public about the massive influence of tobacco industry marketing, especially to our children, and why counter-marketing efforts are needed to prevent future generations from a lifetime of addiction, disease and death. The Coalition has used the FTC report in fact sheets that are provided to legislators and the media, columns that are distributed to the media, in updates to local public health and tobacco prevention specialists and posted on our Web site.
Without the FTC reports, we would not know that the industry spent more than $8.4 billion - $22.5 million per day - nationwide to market cigarettes in 1999. This dwarfs state and federal spending on tobacco prevention. Nor would we know that the cigarette companies increased their marketing expenditures by more than 22 percent since 1998, when they signed a settlement agreement with the state of Minnesota, and a multi-state settlement agreement with 46 other states and claimed that these settlements significantly restricted their marketing activities.
We know that media messages can have a powerful influence, especially on our children. Using the information provided by the FTC reports, groups like the Minnesota Smoke-Free Coalition can make the case for investing in counter-marketing, which can promote quitting and can decrease the likelihood of starting smoking.
We believe the reports produced by the FTC could be better and the Minnesota Smoke-Free Coalition recommends the following improvements:
The Minnesota Smoke-Free Coalition has found the reports issued by the FTC on tobacco industry expenditures to market and promote their produces to be an invaluable resource in the fight to improve public health and prevent tobacco-related disease and deaths. We urge the FTC to continue issuing these reports along with the recommendations put forth in this letter.