CIV (202) 514-2008 TDD (202) 514-1888

CIGARETTE MAKER PHILIP MORRIS AGREES TO REMOVE ADVERTISING SIGNS FROM SPORTS STADIUMS WHERE THEY WERE SHOWN ON TV WASHINGTON, D.C. -- After extensive negotiations, the Department of Justice announced today that it reached agreement with Philip Morris Incorporated, manufacturer of Marlboro and other cigarettes, to resolve allegations that the tobacco company used strategically placed signs at professional sports stadiums to get around the ban on cigarette advertising on television. In a complaint and settlement filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, the government asserted that Philip Morris' cigarette signs appeared in televised sports coverage in stadiums used by 14 baseball clubs and 14 football teams, such as the New Orleans Superdome, Candlestick Park in San Francisco, and the Fulton County Stadium in Atlanta, and five basketball arenas, such as Madison Square Garden in New York. Since 1971, tobacco ads have been barred on television after Congress passed the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act in an effort to reduce the recruitment of new smokers. The Justice Department said Philip Morris was informed by Madison Square Garden that Marlboro displays would be "clearly visible" next to the scorers' table and elsewhere in the arena for three to four minutes during telecasts of New York Knicks games and sports news programs. During the 1994-95 football season, Candlestick Park placed a Marlboro ad behind the uprights where it was visible when balls were kicked into the end zone. For baseball, a Marlboro sign was placed just above the outfield fence in Fulton County Stadium's left field where it was clearly visible during television coverage of Atlanta Braves games. Under the terms of the agreement, Philip Morris will be prohibited from placing cigarette advertisements next to the playing fields at televised baseball, basketball, football and hockey games. The agreement also bars the placement of cigarette advertisements in locations that are most likely to appear on television during game broadcasts. Frank W. Hunger, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division, said the Department insisted on a strong decree prohibiting such advertising in all the major professional sports stadiums. "The Department believed there were obvious violations of the advertising ban, some of them flagrant," said Hunger. He referred particularly to the Marlboro sign at the scorers' table at Madison Square Garden in New York. Philip Morris and the Garden removed that sign during settlement discussions with the Justice Department. Said Hunger, "Congress banned the broadcast of cigarette advertisements because it was concerned that such advertising encouraged young people to start smoking. That goal has been eroded over the last 25 years, in our opinion, as more and more cigarette displays seemed to appear on television. We are pleased that Philip Morris recognized the need to honor Congress' objective and agreed to this decree." The settlement agreement must be approved by the court. #### 95-315