Waxman Letter to Time Warner 8/15/95 Congress of the United States
Washington, DC 20515 August 14, 1995 Mr. Norman Pearlstine
Editor-in-Chief, Time Inc.
Time & Life Building, 34th Floor
1271 Avenue of the Americas
New York, N.Y. 10020

Dear Mr. Pearlstine:

Teenage smoking is a national epidemic with profound medical consequences. Every day 3,000 children start to smoke. Nearly 1,000 of these kids will become addicted to nicotine and eventually die from lung cancer, heart disease or other illnesses caused by smoking.

Last week, the President of the United States addressed the magnitude of this public health crisis and proposed regulations to curb teen-age smoking. The President correctly identified tobacco advertising in magazines read by large numbers of children as one of the principal factors in teen-age smoking. In the President's words, this advertising is "designed to reach children so we get new customers for the tobacco companies as the old customers disappear"; it is part of "the seduction of skilled marketing campaigns aimed at exploiting their insecurities and uncertainties about life."

Your magazine, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, is one of the leading outlets for tobacco advertising designed to entice children to start smoking. Every issue of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED is read by millions of American children. As these kids read about the lives and achievements of their sports heros, they are literally bombarded by advertising promoting the virtues of smoking.

The July 31, 1995, issue of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED demonstrates how the tobacco companies are using your magazine to hook children. This issue contains five full-page advertisements for cigarettes. One two-page ad features Team Penske, the car-racing team sponsored by Philip Morris, displaying five Marlboro logos. The aption is "Marlboro Team Penske/Follow Us." An ad for Camel cigarettes advertises the Camel collector's pack, urging kids to "collect all ten, before they are history, again."

The tobacco industry's advertising budget has exploded from less than $500 million in 1970 to over $6 billion today. This omnipresent assault is achieving its goal: more of our youth are smoking and a new generation of Americans is turning into nicotine addicts. We are confident that this is not your intent. But without question, it is the effect of the tobacco advertisements in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED.

We call upon you to stop publishing tobacco advertisements in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED voluntarily. The tobacco industry has already filed a lawsuit to derail the President's initiative. Similiar efforts will likely be made in Congress. These efforts, however, do not need to delay voluntary action by responsible publications to stop exposing children to msnipulative tobacco advertisements.

SPORTS ILLUSTRATED has taken courageous stands in the past on environmental problems, teen-age gambling, and other important issues facing our society. Now that the President and the entire U.S. medical establishment have found that tobacco advertisements in magazines like SPORTS ILLUSTRATED entice children to smoke, we ask you to take a similar step on tobacco by putting the health of our children ahead of the magazine's corporate profits.

As you consider your responsibilities on this issue, we urge you to consider the example of McDonald's, Taco Bell, Dunkin' Donuts, and many other restaurants that serve children. At the urging of many of us, these responsible corporations have already voluntarily agreed to go smoke-free.

We request that you publish this letter in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. We also respectfully request the opportunity to meet with you at your earliest convenience to discuss our concerns further.


  • 1996 Gene Borio, Tobacco BBS (212-982-4645). WebPage: http://www.tobacco.org).Original Tobacco BBS material may be reprinted in any non-commercial venue if accompanied by this credit

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