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FTC "is committed to reviewing advertising for reduced risk tobacco products on a case-by-case basis to try to ensure that the information consumers receive about reduced risk products is truthful and non-misleading." So said Timothy J. Muris, FTC Chairman, at a hearing before the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, U.S. House of Representatives. His testimony pointed out that tobacco use in the U.S. continues to cause substantial health risks. "Products that could significantly reduce those risks could provide a substantial health benefit. ... At the same time, consumers may be injured if advertisers make harm reduction claims that turn out to be untrue or that exaggerate the benefits or safety of their products."

FTC testimony discussed the agency's mission, its activities in tobacco advertising and marketing, and then addressed the process the Commission would use in examining the advertising of potential reduced risk tobacco products.

In the context of advertising or marketing claims for potential reduced risk products, the testimony noted that FTC--

would consider whether the harm reduction claims were likely to mislead reasonable consumers using the same legal framework that it uses for all consumer products. Thus, the first question that the Commission would address is what messages consumers take from the advertising in question. This analysis would include consideration of whether claims about a reduction in carcinogens and toxins in the product convey risk reduction messages and whether consumers might take away from a harm reduction claim the message that the product was not just safer but that it poses no risk or only a minimal risk. The next question the Commission would address is whether the conveyed risk reduction claims are truthful and substantiated.

NOTE: The views expressed in the written testimony represent the views of the FTC. The oral presentation and responses to questions do not necessarily reflect the views of the Commission or any individual Commissioner. The Commission vote authorizing the testimony was 5-0.

(Prepared Statement of the Federal Trade Commission Concerning the Potential Advertising of Reduced Risk Tobacco Products, Presented by Chairman Timothy J. Muris Before the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, United States House of Representatives, June 3, 2003.)


Cigarette sales by manufacturers to wholesalers and retailers for 2001 decreased 3.8% percent from 2000 levels, while advertising and promotional expenditures increased significantly. Those are the main points in FTC's annual report on cigarette sales and advertising for 2001.

According to the report, the six largest cigarette manufacturers spent $11.22 billion on advertising and promotional expenditures in 2001. That's a 17% increase from the $9.59 billion spent in 2000. The industry's total expenditures were the most ever reported to FTC.

The major manufacturers also spent $79.4 million in 2001 on ads directed to youth or their parents that were intended to reduce youth smoking.

(Federal Trade Commission Cigarette Report for 2001, FTC Matter No. 022 3224, June 12, 2003.)
















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