WASHINGTON - Tobacco companies spent a massive $135.9 million on marketing in Oregon in 2005, with most of it spent on marketing in retail stores that is effective at encouraging kids to smoke, according to a report released today by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. The vast sums the tobacco companies spend to market their deadly and addictive products show the need for Congress to pass pending legislation granting the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authority over tobacco products, including the authority to crack down on tobacco marketing and sales to kids.
The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids calculated the amount of cigarette marketing in each state based on national marketing expenditures contained in a recent report by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the percentage of cigarette packs sold in each state. The FTC report showed that the tobacco companies have nearly doubled their marketing expenditures nationwide since the 1998 state tobacco settlement, which was supposed to curtail tobacco marketing. In 2005, the latest year in the report, the tobacco companies spent $13.4 billion on marketing nationwide -- $36.6 million a day. In 1998, the tobacco companies spent $6.9 billion on marketing.
The FTC report showed that more than 90 percent of cigarette marketing is now spent in convenience stores and other retail stores on colorful advertising and gifts with purchase and on price discounts that make tobacco products more affordable to kids.
A study published in the May 2007 issue of the scientific journal Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine found that these retail marketing strategies are highly effective at getting children to smoke. The study concluded that the more cigarette marketing teens are exposed to in retail stores, the more likely they are to smoke, and that restricting these retail marketing practices would reduce youth smoking.
The FDA legislation before Congress would limit tobacco advertising in stores and in magazines with significant teen readership to black-and-white text only, eliminating the colorful, youth-oriented images that depict smoking as cool and glamorous. It would require stores to place tobacco products behind the counter; ban all remaining tobacco brand sponsorships of sports and entertainment events; and ban free cigarette samples and free giveaways of non-tobacco items with the purchase of a tobacco product. The legislation would also ban candy-flavored cigarettes that clearly are a starter product for young new smokers.
The legislation would also grant the FDA authority to require that tobacco companies disclose the contents of tobacco products and remove or reduce harmful ingredients, stop tobacco companies from misleading the public about the health risks of their products, and require larger, more effective warning labels.
"The vast sums spent to market tobacco products show why it is so urgent that Congress pass legislation granting the FDA authority to regulate tobacco products," said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. "The FDA must have authority to crack down on tobacco marketing that impacts children and misleads the public. We urge all of Oregon's U.S. representatives and senators to support this long-overdue step to protect our children and reduce the death and disease caused by tobacco use."
Nationwide, tobacco use kills more than 400,000 people and costs more than $96 billion in health care bills each year, and 23 percent of high school students smoke. In Oregon, where 17.0 percent of high school students smoke, tobacco use kills 5,000 residents and costs the state $1.11 billion in health care bills.