WASHINGTON DC: A new health foundation designated by last month's massive tobacco settlement will appoint at least one PR agency to advise on a $1.45bn campaign to discourage young people from smoking.
The Washington DC-based Association of Attorneys General, charged with setting up the foundation, will also seek at least one marketing or public relations professional to sit on the organization's 11-member board.
'If the foundation gets off to a fast start it will be selecting agencies by the middle of next year,' said Bill Novelli, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the lobby group that has helped shape the settlement.
He added that companies with tobacco accounts will automatically be ruled out of the running.
According to Novelli the organization will seek agencies with experience in health issues and social change programs. It will also look for a strong track record in working with black and Hispanic groups which are frequently the target of tobacco advertising.
The campaign itself will show children the health risks of smoking through a national advertising drive and school visits. The four cigarette manufacturers that agreed the settlement - Philip Morris, R.J Reynolds Tobacco, Brown & Williamson Tobacco and Lorillard Inc - have agreed to pay a total of $300m per annum for five years to fund the initiative. Payments start on March 31 1999.
Novelli expects the Association of Attorneys General to start selecting the foundation's board members shortly. Two of the association's own members will sit, together with two representatives from each of the National Association of Governors and the National Conference of State Legislatures.
The remaining five seats will be filled from the marketing and health professions.