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Post date: November 10 2003

Agreement Eliminates Tobacco Advertising From School Editions Of Major News Magazines

Attorney General Spitzer today announced an agreement that will remove tobacco advertising from versions of three major news magazines that are sent to schools for use in educational programs.

"The presence of tobacco ads in these publications was a clear violation of the national tobacco settlement agreement, which explicitly prohibits marketing activities that target youth," Spitzer said. "I am pleased that the companies agreed to our demand that they discontinue their ads in these school editions."

The agreement covers versions of Time, Newsweek and U.S. News & World Report. All three publishing companies provide either free or low-cost copies of the magazines for use in social studies classes and school libraries. Newsweek alone distributes more than 300,000 copies of the magazine.

Under the agreement, Philip Morris USA Inc., R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, and U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company will take action to remove all tobacco advertising from the school editions of these magazines.

A fourth major company, Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp., did not advertise in U.S. News and World Report, but did advertise in Time and Newsweek, and has agreed to remove its ads from the school editions of those magazines.

The four tobacco companies together had placed approximately 120 cigarette and smokeless tobacco ads in these three magazines from January 2002 through June 2003.

In June, the Tobacco Enforcement Committee of the National Association of Attorneys General wrote to officials of the four companies and asked for a halt to such advertising.

The attorneys general noted that major magazine publishers employ a process called "selective binding" which allows advertisers to place ads in certain copies of the magazine and not it others. The attorneys general urged the companies take advantage of "selective binding" and exclude their ads from classroom editions.

Spitzer said his office would continue monitor the situation closely. "The national tobacco settlement agreement clearly prohibits marketing activities that target youth, and if any tobacco companies place ads in these school editions in the future, I will commence litigation to stop that practice immediately," he said.