FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                         CIV
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 1996                         (202) 616-2765
                                               TDD (202) 514-1888


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Philip Morris Inc. will remove a billboard advertising Marlboro cigarettes from Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium after the Atlanta Braves play their last home game of the season tonight, the Department of Justice announced today. The sign was placed in such a way that it appeared on telecasts of Atlanta Braves' baseball games in violation of a law banning the advertising of cigarettes on television.

Philip Morris has removed other signs from Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium and from other stadiums in the country in the past.

The agreement to remove the sign, located in left-center field, resulted from negotiations among the Department, the Stadium and Philip Morris, the manufacturer of Marlboro cigarettes. The agreement ensures that the sign will not appear on television during Major League Baseball's upcoming playoffs and World Series if Atlanta appears in the Series.

After receiving complaints about the Marlboro sign appearing on several telecasts of Atlanta Braves games this season, the Department advised the Stadium and Philip Morris that the sign violated the advertising ban and a consent decree entered against Philip Morris in federal district court last year.

After watching video tapes of games, the Department urged Philip Morris to remove the sign. Philip Morris did not admit that the sign violated the law or the consent decree, but agreed to remove it at the end of the regular season. Atlanta's last home game is tonight.

This is the second Marlboro sign which has been removed from Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. A Marlboro sign that was even more conspicuous was removed late last year. Philip Morris also removed various signs at other stadiums throughout the country after the Department obtained an injunction against Philip Morris from the court.

George J. Phillips, Counsellor to the Assistant Attorney General of the Department's Civil Division, said, "There should be no association between professional sports and smoking. As a result of this settlement, kids watching Braves games on television will not be exposed to the Marlboro man who was supposed to be kicked off television 25 years ago.

"We are pleased that the sign is gone and hope that all stadiums will stop renting space for cigarette advertisements not only for the benefit of kids watching games on television at home, but also for the young fans who are unavoidably exposed to these signs when they attend the games," Phillips said.