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Congress explores p-o-p ad ban.

Congress explores p-o-p ad ban

Proposals by Rep. Tom Luken (D-OH) currently before the 101st Congress threaten to impose severe restrictions on the advertising of tobacco products and prejudice point-of-purchase materials by banning their use entirely, except for pricing information, an advertising executive recently told the nation's lawmakers.

"H.R. 1250 places undue hardship on our segment of the advertising community," Point of Purchase Advertising Institute President John Kawula said at a recent congressional subcommittee hearing. "POPAI opposes this bill because it not only includes a full ban on point-of-purchase materials used today in every store in the nation, but is tantamount to a license to kill not only point-of-purchase, but freedom of speech and choice."

POPAI public relations manager Susan Gendel believes that the alcoholic beverage industry might be the next group targeted by the committee.

"At this point, if this bill goes through, it looks as if the beer and alcohol industry would be next," Gendel commented. "In a sense, tobacco and alcohol are tied together because they are referred to as luxuries and both utilize a great deal of point-of-purchase materials."

Under the title of "The Protect Our Children From Cigarettes Act of 1989," H.R. 1250 seeks to ban the promotion of tobacco products if the promotion can be seen by someone under the age of 18. The bill is particularly harsh on the point-of-purchase industry, banning the use of those materials completely, other than pricing information, while allowing other forms of tobacco advertising to exist in limited form, opponents say.

Proponents of H.R. 1250, meanwhile, argue that the suppression of tobacco advertising serves the government's interests since a ban on such advertising would diminish smoking in the U.S.

"Not only has substantiated research proven to the contrary," Kawula countered, "but members of Congress swear an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution. This includes not enacting legislation that violates our First Amendment rights of freedom of speech.

"It's outrageous for ad ban proponents to claim that advertising bans serve the government."
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Title Annotation:point-of-purchase advertising of tobacco products
Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Date:Aug 14, 1989
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