Reynolds' 'safer' cigarette ignites opposition groups

WINSTON-SALEM, NC: A PR battle is smoldering over a new cigarette being marketed by the RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company as less harmful than traditional smokes.

WINSTON-SALEM, NC: A PR battle is smoldering over a new cigarette being marketed by the RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company as less harmful than traditional smokes.

WINSTON-SALEM, NC: A PR battle is smoldering over a new cigarette being marketed by the RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company as less harmful than traditional smokes.

Reynolds has been making the health claims despite a vocal PR campaign by opponents such as the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids (CTFK), the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association, all of which have publicly called on Reynolds to stop test marketing Eclipse and to stop making health claims for it. Anti-Eclipse efforts by these organizations are likely to intensify following Reynolds' retail launch of Eclipse in the Dallas/Fort Worth area on January 22.

'We've called on public health organizations, particularly in Texas, to call for removal' of Eclipse from that state, said Matthew Myers, president of CTFK. The organization wants the FDA to regulate Eclipse now that Reynolds has made what it feels are false claims about the product.

Seth Moskowitz, Reynolds' director of corporate communications, responded to the accusations: 'It's just part of what we deal with all the time. The fact of the matter is that Eclipse is a unique cigarette.'

Reynolds has used highly targeted marketing and PR techniques for Eclipse since first making it available to consumers via a special Web site and by direct mail last year.

The product's Web site, Eclipsescience.com, reviews the scientific evidence Reynolds said it has to illustrate the new product's advantages.

The company has carried out extensive media relations activity to explain Eclipse. 'What I'm interested in is accurate information being out there,' Moskowitz said.

The CTFK has responded to Reynolds' Eclipse PR with a letter signed by 22 public health organizations calling for government oversight of the product.



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