I haven’t read a copy of Mountain Xpress since the pandemic started back in March because the local store I used to get it at no longer carried it. Today I happened to find a copy in my local library.
Imagine my shock and utter dismay to find two full-page ads for cigarettes. I can’t remember how many years or perhaps decades it’s been since I’ve seen a print ad for cigarettes. I actually thought it was illegal to promote these now well-known hazardous products. Guess I’m more out of the loop than I thought.
I’m guessing ad revenues are down, but are they this bad that you have to resort to accepting ads for cigarettes? This is 2020, not the 1950s, and we all know cigarettes are hazardous to health and a scourge that ultimately kills. I can’t wrap my mind around why Xpress would even consider giving space to promote such life-defying products.
I find it incongruous that Xpress’ community-minded, health and wellness articles are supported by advertising products that are inimical to a long and healthy life. Just makes no sense.
I’m disappointed in you, Mountain Xpress, and know you can do better. Please do so and get out of the cigarette advertising business. At this point I’m disinclined to ever read your paper again.
— Joan Engelhardt
Editor’s response: We’re glad you picked up a free copy of Xpress, and we’re sorry to disappoint you. However, advertising still brings in more than 90% of our revenue, though we are grateful for reader support and encouraged by the growth of that income stream this year. We’ve still had to cut costs by laying off staff, reducing the issue size and operating on a much smaller budget this year. Meanwhile, tobacco ads are indeed legal and do contain disclaimers and warnings. Also, advertisements in Xpress do not indicate an endorsement of the product or service. We would also note that — as a community newspaper whose job it is to reflect the Asheville area and present different points of view — it’s unlikely that everyone will agree with or support everything in Xpress. With that in mind, we hope you’ll continue reading the articles you find useful and patronize the businesses you like.