ACS Launches $5 Million Anti-Tobacco Campaign
Press, September 17, 1998
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The American Cancer Society
has launched a new $5 million ad campaign to "expose the lies'' it
says Big Tobacco told to fight a multibillion-dollar settlement in Congress
A spokesman for American tobacco says the industry
was only truthful when it told the public the drive to curb youth smoking
had been corrupted by calls for new taxes on cigarettes to pay for more
government spending. The cancer society on Wednesday announced it will
use a series of six TV ads to try to turn the tables on Joe Camel.
The ads will use images of tobacco executives swearing
to tell the truth before a House committee and a clip from a tobacco industry
TV commercial showing a Christmas tree showering tax dollars on the federal
The first cancer society spots use these words:
"Tobacco companies are on the air with over
$50 million in advertising. The question is -- can we believe a word they
are saying? Have they told the truth about cancer? The truth about nicotine
being addictive? The truth about marketing to kids?"
"The fact is, no matter how much money they
spend -- a lie is just that. Tell Big Tobacco that we don't buy their lies
-- or their ad campaigns."
Tobacco industry spokesman Steve Duchesne rejected
"They are singing a very tired old tune,"
he said. "They seem to be engaged in nothing more than finger pointing
and name calling. I would think they would have something better to do with
their $5 million."
Far from being a lie, Duchesne asserted, "the
industry's advertising campaign was factual, straight forward and honest.
The truth that was spoken in this debate this year was spoken through those
The advertising campaign launched by the tobacco
companies last spring was widely credited for thwarting major anti-tobacco
legislation. The ads sought to picture the tobacco bills as merely a new
tax on "the little guy."
Cancer society executives said they hope their
ads will refocus the public spotlight on protecting children from the addictive
and often cancer-causing properties of tobacco.
"We believe that it is very important that
the American people not believe this latest lie from the tobacco industry,"
said John Seffrin, the cancer society's chief executive officer.
Seffrin said that the six TV ads, two of which
are ready to air, will appear in markets across the country targeted by
the tobacco industry for its own $50 million campaign.
The cancer society's chief executive called the
tobacco industry efforts a "bait and switch'' deception aimed at diverting
attention from the perils of youth smoking to smokescreen proposals about
raising cigarette taxes.
But Duchesne asserted that the debate was transformed
not by the tobacco industry "but by politicians in Washington who changed
the focus away from youth smoking to taxes, money and bigger government."