Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids Again Deceives Constituents about Philip Morris Support for FDA Legislation

According to an electronic communication sent to its constituents on Monday, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is once again implying that Big Tobacco is opposing the proposed FDA tobacco legislation. This advocacy message, which urges constituents to contribute money to help train youth advocates to lobby for the FDA legislation, tries to entice people to contribute by making them think that this is a battle between public health groups and "Big Tobacco."

The message sent to advocates throughout the country states: "Help Kathy and the Youth Advocates fight the good fight in Washington. Your contribution will help the Action Fund provide advocacy training for the YAYAs and empower them to take on Big Tobacco by lobbying for the passage of life-saving FDA legislation. ... Please support the YAYA's mission with a gift to the Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund. Your generosity will help kids stand up for kids and win this critical battle against Big Tobacco. I hope we can count on you to help!"

The Rest of the Story

It is very deceptive to claim that the advocacy training of the YAYAs is going to empower them to take on Big Tobacco by lobbying for the FDA legislation. Such a claim implies that Big Tobacco is opposed to the legislation and is itself lobbying against the legislation. That claim, of course, is untrue. Philip Morris, the largest company within Big Tobacco, is actively supporting the legislation and lobbying for its passage.

By then stating that this is a critical battle against Big Tobacco, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is implying, for a second time, that the battle to enact the FDA legislation is a battle against Big Tobacco. This is hardly the case, when the staunchest supporter of the legislation is none other than Philip Morris itself.

I think that the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids' constituents have a right to be informed of the truth. This massive deception of the public, in order to try to entice them to support a bill under false pretenses, is highly unethical in my opinion.

Of course, as someone who is well-versed in the legislation, I know that this is nothing more than deceptive propaganda. But for many advocates reading this email, they are likely to be tricked into thinking that Big Tobacco is indeed against the legislation and that this is therefore a true fight against Big Tobacco.

Ironically, the email urges the public to support the FDA legislation because it will put an end to "deceptive marketing" by the tobacco companies. Well what about the deceptive propaganda by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids? Is there something I can sign to put an end to that?

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