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Reynolds Cigarette Brand Targets Young Women

Armen Hareyan's picture

Several public health organizations and women's groups on Wednesday called on R.J. Reynolds Tobacco to discontinue sales of its Camel No. 9 cigarettes, which the groups say are targeted at young women, the AP/Los Angeles Times reports (Noveck, AP/Los Angeles Times, 8/15). Reynolds in February launched the brand.

Thecompany -- in an effort to increase its market share among femalesmokers, who made up about 30% of Camel buyers -- packaged thecigarettes in a "hot-pink fuchsia" and a "minty-green teal package" andadvertised the brand with the slogan, "Light and Luscious" (Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report, 2/15). A new ad campaign for the brand says the cigarettes are now "available in stiletto," a longer, thinner cigarette, the AP/Times reports.

Cheryl Healton -- president and CEO of the American Legacy Foundation, which oversees the national anti-smoking Truthcampaign aimed at youth -- in a letter to Reynolds Chair Susan Iveysaid that Camel No. 9 cigarettes are "nothing more than a veiledattempt to sell more cigarettes to girls and young women, putting themat grave risk for disease and a premature death" (AP/Los Angeles Times, 8/15).

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Reynolds, which is working with the agencies Agent 16 and Gyro Worldwide, has promoted the brand by placing ads in magazines -- including Cosmopolitan, Flaunt, Glamour, Vogue and W -- and is distributing coupons and give-away packs at nightclubs (Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report, 2/15).

Morethan 40 members of Congress, led by Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.), in aletter recently expressed their disappointment that 11 women'smagazines were running ads for Camel No. 9 cigarettes. Capps in astatement said, "It's just flat out hypocritical to run stories aboutbecoming more beautiful and healthy while promoting a dangerous productresponsible for killing hundreds of thousands of people a year."

The publisher of Voguein response to the letter said that Congress should create legalguidelines for cigarette ads, adding that "any other pressure orcoercion ... is at odds with the basic fabric of our country's legalsystem." Officials from Glamour said that although theyappreciated the concern for women's health, the "Camel ads in questiondo comply with the Master Tobacco Settlement Agreement." W magazinein a letter said it would like to discuss the issue further but did notmention whether it would stop running the ads, the AP/Times reports.

DavidHoward, a spokesperson for Reynolds, said the company is very happywith the sales of Camel No. 9 cigarettes. "The colors and the packagingsimply accentuate the style and the premium nature of the brand,"Howard said, adding that "[a]bout half" of the brand's audience is male(AP/Los Angeles Times, 8/15).

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