This post marks the start of a new weekly feature of The Rest of the Story. Each week, we will comment on the work of a leading anti-smoking organization. This week's leader: Time Inc.
According to the American Legacy Foundation, Time Warner - a corporate partner of Legacy - is a "leader" in the tobacco control movement. So let's look at the contributions that Time Inc. (Time Warner's magazine division) is making to tobacco control this week.
The Rest of the Story
This week's issue of TIME features a full-page ad for Kool cigarettes, showing an attractive image of a jazz trumpet player holding a cigarette, with the tagline "Be Authentic."
Sports Illustrated features the same full-page ad for Kool cigarettes, showing an attractive image of a jazz trumpet player holding a cigarette, with the tagline "Be Authentic."
People Weekly features a full-page ad for Camel cigarettes, showing a blond woman lining up a billiards shot holding a cigarette, with the tagline "Pleasure to Burn."
And Entertainment Weekly features a full-page Newport ad, showing a young couple at a summer picnic.
Now this post is not written to criticize Time Inc. for publishing these ads. Cigarettes are a legal product, it is legal for a magazine to accept tobacco ads, Time Inc. is not a public health organization, and I would not expect Time Inc. to unilaterally make a decision not to accept cigarette ads and decrease its advertising revenue.
But it does show the hypocrisy in the American Legacy Foundation's decision to partner with Time Inc., to award Time Inc. for progress in tobacco-free publications, and to publically credit Time Inc. with being a leader in the anti-tobacco movement, all the while condemning the high youth exposure to cigarette advertising in magazines out of the other side of its mouth.
This isn't leadership. This is hypocrisy at its worst.
Congratulations to Time Inc. and the American Legacy Foundation for their excellent contributions to tobacco control this week through contributing to the exposure of millions of children to cigarette advertising.