To the editor:

We are struck by the logic of your recent editorial ("Tobacco link taints historic exhibit" May 2), which seems to argue that because you don't approve of tobacco, Philip Morris Companies Inc. is not a proper sponsor of the national tour of the Bill of Rights.Given that almost every consumer product - not to mention the activities of almost all utility and oil companies are currently the subject of criticism, censure, open hostility and even boycott on "moral" grounds by one advocacy group or another, we would be very interested if you could suggest a private sector advertiser that does not challenge the "conscience" of your editorial board.

One must assume that your paper refuses ads not only for tobacco products but also for all allegedly unhealthy products such as beer, spirits, red meat, sweets and other food products that have high sugar, cholesterol or fat content.

There is, of course, the further "moral" argument that one should not be "contaminated" by a company that has anything to do with animal testing (bye-bye most pharmaceutical, chemical and cosmetic companies) or fails to meet the current greenie standards on correct environmentalism, or shoe investments that in any way broach the current canons of the "socially responsible" investment lobby - which cuts out most multinational companies who have any dealings with countries on the pariah list.

Attitudes to life aside, we think it is admirable that the Deseret News has apparently decided to be completely consistent in its advertising policy - a policy that would seem to suggest that it accepts no advertising at all, unless of course you believe that public sector advertising is the only "clean money" in town.

One, of course, could not object to anything government does, least of all its eager acceptance of billions of dollars of tax money each year from the sale of tobacco products, while simultaneously pursuing campaigns that portray smoking as the curse of the ages.

One is reminded of the words of Claude Rains, the policeman in the movie Casablanca, who, when told that there was gambling going on in Rick's place, uttered the memorable lines, "I'm shocked. I'm deeply shocked."

Guy L. Smith IV

Vice president, corporate affairs

Philip Morris