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Cigarette Ads Up in Smoke

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Cigarette Ads Up in Smoke

Article excerpt

The New York Times bans cigarette advertisements

The New York Times will no longer print cigarette ads after May 1, according to newspaper officials, who say the decision is based on the simple premise that tobacco is unhealthy.

"We don't want to expose our readers to advertising that may be dangerous to their health," Times spokeswoman Nancy Nielsen said in the newspaper's April 28 edition announcing the ban. "Deciding on the acceptance of advertising often means we have to weigh the pros and cons of competing and sometimes conflicting values."

The Times joins a small group of more than a dozen newspapers that have banned cigarette ads in recent years, which include The Seattle Times, The Deseret News in Salt Lake City and The Christian Science Monitor.

Nielsen says cigarette ads provide less than 1% of the newspaper's $1 billion in annual advertising revenue. The newspaper says it ran its last cigarette ad, a full-page color promotion for Carlton cigarettes, on April 26 in the Metro section and had no plans for other such ads before May 1.

Carlton is produced by the Brown & Williamson Tobacco unit of British American Tobacco.

Brown & Williamson spokesman Mark Smith criticized the newspaper's decision, saying that it is only a symbolic gesture since so little advertising comes from cigarette companies. He also calls the move "pathetic" and says it is a form of censorship.

"Isn't it ironic that a publication that trumpets freedom of the press would trample on the freedom of commercial expression? …

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