SOURCE: The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University

October 31, 2006 15:39 ET

Statement by Joseph A. Califano, Jr., Chairman and President, The Citizens' Commission to Protect the Truth and The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University on AJPH

Article That Claims Tobacco Company Anti-Smoking Ads May Have Harmful Effects on Youth

NEW YORK, NY -- (MARKET WIRE) -- October 31, 2006 -- The following is a statement by Joseph A. Califano, Jr., Chairman and President of The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University:

"According to a study released today in the American Journal of Public Health, the Philip Morris campaign urging parents to talk to their kids about smoking is either ineffective or actually encourages kids to smoke. This study validates the importance of the American Legacy Foundation's truth® campaign. This study demonstrates that relying on Philip Morris to encourage kids not to smoke is akin to relying on Dracula to encourage people not to drink blood. Philip Morris is in the business of selling cigarettes and cannot be trusted to discourage people from buying its product. If they are serious about reducing youth smoking rates, they should take the advertising dollars spent on their anti-smoking ads and give them to the only proven effective youth anti-smoking campaign, truth®."

The Citizens' Commission to Protect the Truth is composed of all former U.S. Secretaries of Health, Education and Welfare and of Health and Human Services, all former U.S. Surgeons General, and all former Directors of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from every administration, Republican and Democrat, over the past 40 years. This distinguished group of public health officials has come together for the first time in our nation's history with one goal in mind: to keep the American Legacy Foundation's truth® campaign alive in order to end smoking by America's children and teens.

In February 2005 the Commission found the truth® youth anti-smoking campaign saves thousands of lives and billions of dollars in smoking related health care costs and productivity losses. The Commission based its analysis on findings in a peer-reviewed article from the March 2005 issue of the American Journal of Public Health, which credits truth® with reducing the number of children and teen smokers by 300,000 from 2000 to 2002.

Mr. Califano will be available for comment through 6:00 PM tonight.

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