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Big Tobacco Spends Record $12 Million to Deceive Oregon Voters
Date:11/2/2007

Spending against cigarette tax initiative more than doubles record for Oregon ballot measures

Statement of William V. Corr Executive Director, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

WASHINGTON, Nov. 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Showing again that they will do whatever it takes to protect their profits at the expense of our children, the Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds tobacco companies have increased their spending to a record $12 million to defeat an Oregon ballot initiative that would increase the state cigarette tax and fund children's health care. Big Tobacco's spending more than doubles the previous record for any Oregon ballot measure and is nearly four times the $3.3 million that proponents of the initiative has raised.

According to media reports, Philip Morris spent an additional $1.1 million this week, bringing its total to about $7 million, while R.J. Reynolds added about $150,000, for a total of $4.9 million. The tobacco companies are seeking to defeat Ballot Measure 50, the Healthy Kids Oregon initiative, which would increase the state cigarette tax by 84.5 cents per pack and fund expansion of children's health coverage and tobacco prevention programs.

Most of the industry's funds are being spent on deceptive television advertising. Oregon voting, which is done by mail, concludes November 6.

Media reports have regularly exposed the industry's deceptive tactics, including creation of a front group -- Oregonians Against the Blank Check that is funded entirely by RJR; RJR's distribution of a mass-mailed letter that appeared to come from a first-grade teacher but was mailed from the office of the company's lobbyist, and false claims in TV ads.

R.J. Reynolds and Philip Morris are fighting Measure 50 because they know that increasing the cigarette tax is one of the most effective strategies to reduce smoking, especially among kids. Studies show that every 10 percent increase in the price of cigarettes reduces youth smok
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SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
Copyright©2007 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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