Fri, May 18, 2001 4:06 PM
Subject: Cigarette and Smokeless Tobacco Reports
May 17, 2001
Office of the Secretary
Dear Mr. Secretary:
It is extremely important to my Organization that the FTC continues to issue its periodic reports on how much the cigarette companies and smokeless tobacco companies spend each year to market and promote their products. I am the Director of a 150 member non-profit organization that works to protect children from tobacco products. I am also a member of the Government Relations Committee of the VA Unit of the American Cancer Society. In addition, for the past 5 years I have spoken as a health advocate at the annual shareholders meeting of the RJR Tobacco Company. In the years 1997 through 2000, I spoke at the annual shareholders meetings of the Philip Morris Tobacco Company.
The American tobacco companies do not provide the information that is included in the FTC Reports. When the tobacco companies signed the multi-state agreement, the health care community assumed that marketing efforts by the tobacco companies would be reduced. Thanks to the FTC reports, we know that exactly the opposite occurred. In 1999 the tobacco industry spent more that $8.4 billion dollars (22.5 million dollars per day) nationwide on marketing cigarettes. This is hundreds of times greater than the amounts spent by the federal government and by the states in 1999 for tobacco prevention. To permit health professionals to protect their patients from cigarette marketing by American tobacco companies, please continue to provide this information.
I would also make the following suggestions that might make your reports more useful:
It would be a tremendous blow to public health were you to decide to discontinue your reports on tobacco industry expenditures to market cigarettes. Please continue them.
With best regards,
David O. Lewis, MD