Camel Crush cigarette ads target children, health groups say

Posted By GABRIELLE LEVY,  |  May 31, 2013 at 10:34 AM
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A group of five leading health organizations is banding together to protest a new Camel cigarette ads that appear to target teens, which would be in violation of the law.

The American Heart Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Lung Association, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and Legacy are calling on state attorneys general to investigate whether Camel Crush ads appearing in at least 24 magazines are in violation of the 1998 Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement preventing companies from targeting young people.

"We believe that R.J. Reynolds' new ad campaign does directly or indirectly target youth because the entire ad buy is reaching millions of youth and several of the individual magazines have large youth readerships," the group said in a letter to the Tobacco Committee Co-Chairs of the National Association of Attorneys general.

The ads appeared in April, May, and June issues of magazines such as Entertainment Weekly, ESPN The Magazine, Sports Illustrated, People, Glamour, Rolling Stone, InStyle, Us Weekly and Vogue, which are read by millions of teens.

"In just one month of activity, the Camel Crush ads were found to have reached more than 50 percent of 12-24 year olds, yielding more than 61 million impressions," the letter said.

"The evidence also shows that R.J. Reynolds does not change its harmful marketing practices without public and legal pressure," the wrote. "R.J. Reynolds cannot be allowed to get away with yet another marketing campaign that entices America’s kids into a deadly addiction."

Reynolds American Inc. spokesman Richard Smith said it believes the ads are in compliance with the agreement and only advertises in magazines where adults make up at least 85 percent of readership.

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