Anti-smoking ads snuffed – Hard-hitting campaign targeted teens

WASHINGTON – A nationwide anti-smoking campaign paid by the nation’s billion-dollar tobacco settlement is withdrawing two hard-hitting television ads that had the tobacco industry fuming, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The ads by the American Legacy Foundation were aimed at teenagers as part of a campaign to reduce tobacco use in the U.S.

Cheryl Healton, the foundation’s chief executive, told The Wall Street Journal Interactive Edition that the ads were pulled after expressions of concern from various quarters.

She declined to say who voiced the concerns, but said the action was a “political decision.”

The $1.5 billion campaign is the largest ever undertaken by an anti-smoking group in the U.S. Over the next five years, ads have been planned for TV, radio, print and billboards.

The campaign is being financed with money from the tobacco industry’s $200 billion settlement with the states in 1998.

One of the ads featured a teenager with a lie detector interviewing a tobacco executive. It was shown on USA Network Inc.’s cable stations.

The other ad showed body bags piled alongside headquarters of Philip Morris Companies Inc. and was aired on Comedy Central.

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