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Matthew L. Myers

Matthew L. Myers

Posted: April 22, 2010 01:59 PM

Fans Get Kelly Clarkson to Do the Right Thing

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Kelly Clarkson and her concert promoters have done the right thing and announced they are cancelling the tobacco sponsorship of her upcoming concert in Indonesia, and removing tobacco-branded billboards and other promotions related to the event.

The show will go on, but Big Tobacco's pernicious marketing to youth won't.

For weeks, Clarkson's many fans of all ages posted hundreds of Facebook messages and sent thousands of e-mails urging that she reject the tobacco sponsorship of her April 29 concert in Jakarta.

Fan voices were strong and clear

The public outcry sends a powerful message to all entertainers that they should not be involved in marketing tobacco products, which spread death and disease throughout the world. When entertainers participate in such sponsorships, they become spokespeople for the tobacco industry and help to market cigarettes and other tobacco products to children.

Everyone should follow this Idol

All members of the music and entertainment industry, including performers and promoters, should adopt policies of rejecting all tobacco sponsorships and promotions. We also call on tobacco companies to immediately cease all such sponsorships and promotions.

Clarkson's Jakarta concert was being sponsored and heavily promoted by the tobacco company PT Djarum under the name of its cigarette brand LA Lights. Television, billboard and online ads for the concert feature her image and the LA Lights logo and even carry health warnings, making clear they are cigarette ads. Promoter Java Musikindo should quickly follow through in pulling down all of the advertisements.

While tobacco sponsorships are banned in the U.S. and many countries, the tobacco industry continues to utilize concert sponsorships to promote tobacco products in Indonesia and other developing countries.

Tobacco use is a serious health problem in Indonesia, where more than a third of the populaton smokes and more than 200,000 die from tobacco use each year. An estimated 78 percent of Indonesian smokers started before they were 19.

Clarkson is not the first artist to face protests over tobacco sponsorship, and she seems to have learned something from Alicia Keys. In July 2008, Keys' Jakarta concert was initially sponsored by "A Mild" cigarettes, which is produced by Philip Morris International and its Indonesian subsidiary Sampoerna. When this was brought to her attention, Keys spoke out against the sponsorship and had related advertising removed.

Thank Kelly Clarkson for doing the right thing