'Truth' Campaign Threatened In Ongoing Legal Battle


The future of the American Legacy Foundation's Truth campaign could be in jeopardy following a Delaware Supreme Court case next Wednesday, April 26 during which Lorillard Tobacco Company will appeal an earlier ruling which found the American Legacy Foundation Truth campaign did not, as Lorillard claimed it did, vilify the tobacco company. If Lorillard wins, the tone of the campaign may have to change dramatically and Lorillard has asked the approximately $1.5 billion in money provided by manufacturers to American Legacy Foundation be returned to an escrow account making it, the organization claims, impossible to continue with its anti-smoking efforts.

The American Legacy Foundation claims the Truth campaign is crucial to maintaining and lowering youth smoking. The Foundation claims the campaign aided the decline in youth smoking 22 percent from 2000 to 2002 resulting in 300,000 teens choosing not to smoke in 2002. There are simple truths here. Every human knows this. Smoking is bad. If a person wants to smoke, they can make that choice. But cigarette makers should not be able to stifle organizations that are trying to provide information that helps a person decide whether or not they will take up smoking. That's just wrong.

Written by Steve Hall    Comments (5)     File: Bad, Campaigns, Policy     Apr-19-06  
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I think it's fascinating that the tobacco industry has been forced to essentially fund advertising against itself. Has this ever happened before?

I think smoking is dumb, and am glad that the cultural tide seems to have turned decisively against the industry. But the Truth campaigns have always grated my nerves. The sense of smug self-importance, the faux sense that this is some sort of organic grassroots David out to beat the evil tobacco Goliaths, the gratuitously disturbing ads that make cigarettes and their manufacturers seem worse than heroin and its dealers somehow. It makes me sympathetic to the industry, honestly. If cigarettes are bad for you (which they are), keep the message simple and focused on that instead of on smearing the businessmen who are responsible to shareholders to keep their product selling, even in a highly antagonistic marketplace.

Posted by: Aatom on April 19, 2006 01:22 PM

This is bullsh$t. The tabacco companies can take their deathsticks and shove them up their a$$.

It is one the last 100 years most ironic events in big business (cancer, oops I mean Tobacco industry paying to advertise against itself.

The appeal won't fly, that is of course unless every morning at 10AM there are a bunch of black robs standing outside the back of the court house smoking it up.

Posted by: John on April 19, 2006 01:41 PM

i love these ads. they are sufficiently hardcore and i hope they continue.

Posted by: dm on April 19, 2006 03:54 PM

Of course Big Tobacco is a corrupt, nasty industry. But the fact is, when the tobacco settlement was finalized several years ago, it was in the contract that the companies couldn't be vilified. The anti-smoking work could say whatever they wanted about the product, its effects, etc., but was forbidden to vilify the companies themselves. As much as anyone loves or hates the "Truth" work, no one can deny that it DOES indeed vilify tobacco companies. Do they deserve it? Of course. But you can't sign a contract, then blatantly violate its rules. (Unless you're Terrell Owens of course.)

Posted by: Bob on April 20, 2006 09:19 AM

"Provide Information" is a very loose term. People who get their "information" from the Truth campaign are hardly able to make an adequately informed "choice".

Posted by: Anand Chopra-McGowan on April 22, 2006 06:54 PM

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