William Corr, executive director of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, who also spoke at the press conference, said: "This report sends an unmistakable message to our elected officials that they can dramatically reduce tobacco use by children and by adults by passing legislation that would authorize the Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco products and by adequately funding their state prevention and cessation programs."
Bill Phelps, a spokesman for the Altria Group, the parent company of Philip Morris USA, took issue with some of the findings. "It appears that many of the conclusions in the report are based on marketing practices that are more than 30 or 40 years old," he said. "We think it's important to focus on the marketing practices that we have in place today."
He said that spending for cigarette brand advertising for Philip Morris USA, which includes Marlboro cigarettes, has dropped 46 percent in the past 10 years. Philip Morris supports federal legislation under consideration to regulate tobacco products, he said.
In July, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation that would subject the tobacco industry to federal regulation, including granting the FDA the power to regulate tobacco products. The Senate has yet to act on a similar measure.
For more on keeping kids free from tobacco, visit the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.
SOURCES: Aug. 21, 2008, teleconference with William Corr, executive director, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Washington, D.C., and Melanie Wakefield, Ph.D., senior scientific editor, Monograph 19, and director of the Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer, The Cancer Council, Victoria, Australia; U.S. National Cancer Institute Monograph 19, The Role of the Media in Promoting and Reducing Tobacco Use