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The Pediatric Forum |

Growth in Tobacco Promotion Overstated—Reply

James Sargent, MD
Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1998;152(5):513. doi:.
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We would like to thank Mr Monmaney for noting our error on cigarette promotional expenditures for 1990. As noted in his letter, the FTC uses 2 categories to capture spending on cigarette promotions: "Specialty Item Distribution" and "Retail Value Added." We failed to include the latter category in our 1990 figures, resulting in an inflated figure for the growth in spending for these categories between 1990 and 1994.1 However, that comparison of promotional spending may underestimate the growth in spending on these items for this period, as shown in Figure 1. Promotional expenditures grew by $0.5 billion annually from 1990 to 1993, and then dropped by more than $1 billion in 1994, coinciding with a drop in total advertising and promotional expenditures of more than $2 billion. Figure 1 also shows that 1990 promotional spending amounted to 37% of the total cigarette advertising and promotional expenditures; promotional spending climbed to 55% of total expenditures in 1993 then dropped to 43% in 1994. Whether lower 1994 expenditures is an anomaly or a downward trend is not known at this time, as 1995 data have not yet been obtained by the FTC from the tobacco industry.

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Figure 1.

Domestic spending on cigarette promotional materials for 1990 through 1994.

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Figure 2.

Comparison of total domestic cigarette advertising and promotional expenditures with the annual National Institutes of Health (NIH) appropriation.

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