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Notice

Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Federal Trade Commission (“FTC” or “Commission”).

ACTION:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

The information collection requirements described below will be submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) for review, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act (“PRA”). The FTC is seeking public comments on its proposal to extend through January 31, 2012, the current PRA clearance for information sought through compulsory process orders to a combined ten or more of the largest cigarette manufacturers and smokeless tobacco manufacturers in order to obtain from them information including, among other things, their sales and marketing expenditures. The current clearance expires on January 31, 2009.

DATES:

Comments on the proposed information requests must be received on or before October 6, 2008.

ADDRESSES:

Interested parties are invited to submit written comments. Comments should refer to “Tobacco Reports: Paperwork Comment, FTC File No. P054507” to facilitate the organization of comments. The Commission is requesting that any comment filed in paper form be sent by courier or overnight service, if possible because U.S. postal mail in the Washington area and at the FTC is subject to delay due to heightened security precautions. Moreover, because paper mail in the Washington area and at the FTC is subject to delay, please consider submitting your comments in electronic form, as prescribed below. If, however, the comment contains any material for which confidential treatment is requested, it must be filed in paper form, and the first page of the document must be clearly labeled “Confidential.”1

Comments filed in electronic form should be submitted by following the instructions on the web-based form at (https://secure.commentworks.com/​ftc-TobaccoReports) and following the instructions on the web-based form. To ensure that the Commission considers an electronic comment, you must file it on the web-based form at: (https://secure.commentworks.com/​ftc-TobaccoReports). If this notice appears at www.regulations.gov, you may also file an electronic comment through that website. The Commission will consider all comments that www.regulations.gov forwards to it.

The FTC Act and other laws the Commission administers permit the collection of public comments to consider and use in this proceeding as appropriate. All timely and responsive public comments will be considered by the Commission and will be available to the public on the FTC website, to the extent practicable, at www.ftc.gov. As a matter of discretion, the FTC makes every effort to remove home contact information for individuals from the public comments it receives before placing those comments on the FTC website. More information, including routine uses permitted by the Privacy Act, may be found in the FTC's privacy policy at (http://www.ftc.gov/​ftc/​privacy.shtm).

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Requests for additional information or copies of the proposed collection of information should be addressed to Shira Modell, Attorney, Division of Advertising Practices, Bureau of Consumer Protection, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. Telephone: (202) 326-3116.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

For forty years, the Federal Trade Commission has published periodic reports containing data on domestic cigarette sales and marketing expenditures by the major U.S. cigarette manufacturers. The Commission has published comparable reports on smokeless tobacco sales and marketing expenditures since 1987. Both reports originally were issued pursuant to statutory mandates. After those statutory mandates were terminated, the Commission continued to collect and publish information obtained from the cigarette and smokeless tobacco industries pursuant to Section 6(b) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. 46(b). The current PRA clearance to collect this information is valid through Start Printed Page 46007January 31, 2009, under OMB Control No. 3084-0134.

The FTC plans to continue sending information requests annually to the ultimate parent company of several of the largest cigarette companies and smokeless tobacco companies in the United States (“industry members”). The information requests will seek data regarding, inter alia: (1) the tobacco sales of industry members; (2) how much industry members spend advertising and promoting their tobacco products, and the specific amounts spent in each of a number of specified expenditure categories; (3) whether industry members are involved in the appearance of their tobacco products in television shows or movies; (4) how much industry members spend on advertising intended to reduce youth tobacco usage; (5) the events, if any, during which industry members’ tobacco brands are televised; and (6) for the cigarette industry, the tar, nicotine, and carbon monoxide ratings of their cigarettes, to the extent they possess such data. The information will again be sought using compulsory process under Section 6(b) of the FTC Act.

Under the PRA, 44 U.S.C. 3501-3521, federal agencies must obtain approval from OMB for each collection of information they conduct or sponsor. “Collection of information” means agency requests or requirements that members of the public submit reports, keep records, or provide information to a third party. 44 U.S.C. 3502(3), 5 CFR 1320.3(c). As required by section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the PRA, the FTC is providing this opportunity for public comment before requesting that OMB extend the existing paperwork clearance for the instant collection of information.

The FTC invites comments on: (1) whether the proposed collection of information required by the Rule is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (2) the accuracy of the agency’s estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses.

Estimated hours burden: The FTC staff’s estimate of the hours burden is based on the time required to respond to each information request. Although the FTC currently anticipates sending in 2009 information requests to the six largest cigarette companies and the five largest smokeless tobacco companies,2 the burden estimate is based on up to 15 information requests being issued per year to take into account any future changes in these industries. These companies vary greatly in size, in the number of products that they sell, and in the extent and variety of their advertising and promotion. Prior input received from the industries, combined with staff’s knowledge of them, suggests that the time most companies would require to gather, organize, format, and produce their responses would range from 30 to 80 hours per information request for the smaller companies, to as much as hundreds of hours for the very largest companies. As an approximation, staff continues to assume a per company average of 180 hours for the ten largest recipients of the Commission’s information request to comply with it; cumulatively, 1,800 hours per year.3 Staff further estimates that for the eleventh anticipated recipient of the information request to be issued in 2009 and the four possible additional recipients, all of which would be smaller companies, the burden should not exceed 60 hours per company or 300 hours, cumulatively. Thus, overall estimated burden for a maximum of 15 recipients of the information request is 2,100 hours. These estimates include any time spent by separately incorporated subsidiaries and other entities affiliated with the ultimate parent company that has received the information request.

Estimated cost burden: It is not possible to calculate with precision the labor costs associated with this data production, as they entail varying compensation levels of management and/or support staff among companies of different sizes. Financial, legal, marketing, and clerical personnel may be involved in the information collection process. Commission staff assumes that professional personnel will handle most of the tasks involved in gathering and producing responsive information, and have applied an average hourly wage of $150/hour for their combined labor. Staff’s best estimate for the total labor costs for up to 15 information requests is $315,000. Staff believes that the capital or other non-labor costs associated with the information requests are minimal. Although the information requests may necessitate that industry members maintain the requested information provided to the Commission, they should already have in place the means to compile and maintain business records.

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William Blumenthal

General Counsel

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Footnotes

1. Commission Rule 4.2(d), 16 CFR 4.2(d). The comment must be accompanied by an explicit request for confidential treatment, including the factual and legal basis for the request, and must identify the specific portions of the comment to be withheld from the public record. The request will be granted or denied by the Commission's General Counsel, consistent with applicable law and the public interest. See Commission Rule 4.9(c), 16 CFR 4.9(c).

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2. In 2007, the Commission issued information requests to five cigarette companies and five smokeless tobacco companies. Given changing growth conditions in the industry since then, the Commission anticipates that it will issue requests to six cigarette companies in 2009.

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3. 70 FR 24415 (May 9, 2005); 70 FR 62313 (October 31, 2005).

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[FR Doc. E8-18098 Filed 8-6-08: 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6750-01-S