NCI Study Shows' Weekly Reader' Conveyed Tobacco Industry Message

December 1, 1995

WASHINGTON--A study funded by a $600,000 grant from the National Cancer Institute shows that for a 5-year period the Weekly Reader, a newspaper aimed at schoolchildren, may have had a pro-smoking stance. Since 1991, the weekly has been owned by K-III Holdings, a subsidiary of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., which until last spring was majority owner of RJR Nabisco, the second largest US tobacco company.

WASHINGTON--A study funded by a $600,000 grant from the NationalCancer Institute shows that for a 5-year period the WeeklyReader, a newspaper aimed at schoolchildren, may have hada pro-smoking stance. Since 1991, the weekly has been owned byK-III Holdings, a subsidiary of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts &Co., which until last spring was majority owner of RJR Nabisco,the second largest US tobacco company.

During the period of study, from 1989 to 1994, 68% of the WeeklyReader's articles on smoking included the tobacco industry'sviews, while only 38% included an antismoking message, the Universityof California, San Francisco, researchers found. In addition,Joe Camel, RJR's cartoon mascot, made an appearance in eight of34 articles studied.