The major American tobacco companies developed and agreed to abide by the Cigarette Advertising Code in 1964. The stated aims of the code were to prohibit advertising directed at young people, to prohibit advertising that used fraudulent health claims, and to assure compliance with the code's provisions through the establishment of an administrative arm and enforcement mechanism to prescreen and monitor all cigarette advertising. In the 32 years since the Cigarette Advertising Code's adoption, the tobacco industry has used the existence of this code and its revisions and promises of self-regulation in accordance with this code as evidence that it promotes tobacco use only in a responsible manner. The code has served as the basis of the industry's efforts to avoid further local, state, and federal regulatory oversight of its marketing activities. A historical review of cigarette advertising since 1964 indicates that the voluntary code's major provisions have been regularly violated in the spirit and the letter. The administrative and enforcement provisions of the original Cigarette Advertising Code were quietly dismantled soon after the voluntary code's adoption and were completely omitted from the revised code in 1990. The historical evidence indicates that self-regulation of cigarette advertising and promotion by the tobacco industry has been repeatedly given trials and has not worked.
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