Letter: Cigarette ad draws fire

Graphic by Lori Deaton

Did I really open up the [April 15] issue of the Xpress to find a two-page centerfold advertisement for cigarettes in the middle of a deadly pandemic, where the virus attacks the lungs and smokers are among the most vulnerable???

What are your values, Mountain Xpress?

— Chuck Brodsky
Fairview

Editor’s response: Thank you for expressing your concern about this issue. We understand the objection to running ads for smoking, which is known to cause various ailments, birth defects and death, and is habit forming. For many years, we had a policy of not running tobacco ads, but the newspaper industry has changed, and we have had to adapt to these changes. Xpress is, for the most part, supported by advertising income. As ad sales declined over the past eight or so years, we have turned to other ways to support our mission, which is to build community and strengthen democracy by serving an active, thoughtful readership at the local level. Asking readers to support Xpress financially has been a piece of the solution. Allowing tobacco ads is another. We typically accept ads for businesses that are legal, and tobacco products are among those that are legal. In the case of both tobacco and vaping products, we don’t run ads that appear to appeal to minors. And on a general note, advertising content does not represent the opinions or views of Mountain Xpress.

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Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

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The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

8 thoughts on “Letter: Cigarette ad draws fire

    • Laura Hackett

      Hi Curious. We do not plan on charging for the paper, but we have recently launched a membership program. Folks who’d like to support the paper (and qualify for some cool perks) can sign up at SupportMountainX.com

    • Jeff Fobes

      Xpress has considered charging for content (print and online), but decided against it. Our mission is to promote community dialogue. Adding a charge to access content filters out key community members. It also doesn’t translate into more income because it reduces readership.

  1. Jon King

    Dear Xpress, while I’ve taken issue with some editorial decisions over the years, I’d like to offer that I have no problem with the acceptance of advertising funding from tobacco companies. Paywalls are a sure way to drive readers away. Under normal circumstances, ethyl alcohol features prominently in our community discourse, and alcohol use isn’t a healthy activity. Xpress has no responsibility toward keeping adults from exercising legal choices.

  2. Feel the Burn

    Yep, ole Chuck likes to complain about tobacco, but would probably vote to legalize weed.

  3. Lou

    I have a great idea! Instead of running ads for destructive and antiquated tobacco products, how about you guys start charging old angry Republicans like Mumpower to advertise their hatred and division, rather than just letting him hear himself talk for his ego’s sake?? Maybe then we liberals and progressives would not be forced to listen to his self-important ramblings since I am pretty sure he prefers to spend his money on expensive liquor and companionship.

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