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July 15, 2005

Reality Check Teens Praise Decision on Tobacco Advertising

Members of the Oswego County Reality Check program are applauding an agreement between the National Association of Attorneys General and magazine publishers to eliminate tobacco advertising in magazines that are sent to schools.

"For many years tobacco advertisements have skillfully infiltrated middle schools and high schools throughout New York State, giving teens a daily dosage of pro-tobacco messages," said Katie Ives, Oswego County Reality Check program coordinator. "Now, because of the work of dedicated teens in the New York State Reality Check program, fewer tobacco advertisements will sneak into our schools."

Reality Check is part of New York State's Tobacco Control Program. It is designed to mobilize youth by exposing the manipulative marketing practices of the tobacco industry.

The National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) recently reached an agreement with Time, Inc. and Newsweek, Inc. to eliminate tobacco advertising from the editions of Time, People, Sports Illustrated and Newsweek magazines that are sent to schools.

"This is a huge victory for the teens, not only in New York State, but across the country," said Emily Greene, an Oswego County Reality Check member from Fulton. "Reality Check has worked very hard to educate people about tobacco advertising in magazines carried in school libraries and the ability to eliminate those ads through the process called 'selective binding.' "

In November 2003, NAAG reached an agreement with the major tobacco companies to eliminate tobacco advertising from special classroom editions of Time, Newsweek and US News and World Report that the publishers create for use in school social studies classes. However, in almost all cases the magazines that went to the school libraries were the normal editions of the magazines that contained tobacco advertisements.

Reality Check surveyed 223 middle schools and high schools in New York, and found that more than 70 percent of the school libraries had copies of Time, Newsweek, People and Sports Illustrated with tobacco advertising. The four magazines are among the most popular magazines read by teens in school.

For more information, contact Ives at the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau, phone 349-3451 or 1-800-596-3200, ext. 3451, or email at kives@oswegocounty.com.

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