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Teens Targeted in Tobacco Ads, Model Testifies

July 25, 1989|From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A model who for six years was Winston's answer to the macho "Marlboro man" urged Congress today to take the glamour out of tobacco advertisements, saying teen-agers are the target of the ads.

"I have had children tell me that they smoked Winstons so that they could be just like me," David Goerlitz told a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee. "For that I shall always feel guilty."

Goerlitz described himself as a 25-year, three-pack-a-day smoker who kicked the habit in November. He has worked for private groups that fight smoking-related illnesses and his testimony was intended to bolster legislation sponsored by Rep. Thomas A. Luken (D-Ohio).

Ad Ban Sought

Luken, on a self-described crusade "to reduce cigarette smoking to zero," wants to ban all tobacco ads that might be seen by youths.

"When I modeled for Winston, I was told very clearly that young people were the market we were after," Goerlitz said. "The other models and I were depicted as young and daring buddies, and that's what young people relate to at 14 or 15 years old."

The ads showed cigarette-smoking members of a search-and-rescue squad, dangling from helicopters and hanging from cliffs to rescue stricken climbers.

Luken's bill calls for stripping billboards and printed ads of everything but printed words, and banning tobacco ads from all sports facilities.

Job Loss Predicted

The Freedom to Advertise Coalition, representing six advertising trade organizations, released results of a study predicting Luken's legislation would put 62,992 people out of work if it became law. It said jobs would be lost in retail trade, outdoor advertising, direct mail advertising, newspapers, magazines and printing.

The coalition and the American Civil Liberties Union also argued against the bill on constitutional grounds.

Charles Whitley, spokesman for the Tobacco Institute, said the legislation "rests on the false premise that cigarette advertising is responsible for smoking by young people and that young people would not begin smoking if cigarette advertising were banned."

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