San Francisco Boycott Targets Oreos, Other Big Tobacco Products

By Elias, Thomas D. | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), July 5, 1999 | Go to article overview
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San Francisco Boycott Targets Oreos, Other Big Tobacco Products


Elias, Thomas D., The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


SAN FRANCISCO - Oreo cookies are out, as far as the San Francisco public schools are concerned. But guns are back in - if they're carried by cops.

Those are just two results of a spate of decisions made by the San Francisco Board of Education, which voted last week for a first-in-the-nation ban of on-campus sales of all products made by tobacco companies and their subsidiaries.

The board also voted to prohibit using any product brand names in textbooks and mandated that no student be required to wear any corporate logo for any school activity, including sports.

At the same time, the board rescinded an earlier decision that prohibited police from carrying guns onto school campuses except in emergencies, a measure that had infuriated police, who often enter school premises when investigating drug- and gang-related cases.

The ban on tobacco companies and all their products does not prevent students from carrying Oreos onto campus in bag lunches. But it does mean school cafeterias and vending machines in the 60,000-student district will buy no more SnackWell or Nutter Butter cookies. Those and Oreos are owned by R.J. Reynolds, best known for its Camel cigarette brand.

There will also be no more Cheez Whiz or Jell-O puddings, both made by Philip Morris, progenitor of the Marlboro Man and his smokes.

"We want to stop having teens subsidize tobacco corporation efforts to sell their cigarettes to kids," said Lillion Boctor of the Mission Housing Development Corp., which coordinates a youth project whose members identified tobacco-owned foods sold in San Francisco schools.

The move was part of an "unprecedented national campaign of demonization," that Philip Morris Chairman Geoffrey Bible complained about in a meeting with stock analysts and large investors. The anti-tobacco effort is one reason he said the company is in a "transition" year.

Targeting non-tobacco products of big tobacco companies is the latest tactic in the anti-smoking campaign, says Kathryn Mulvey of InFact, a national group trying to ban cigarettes from most public and publicly owned places.

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