WASHINGTON: The American Legacy Foundation (ALF) has brought together 47 public health and women's groups to launch a campaign intended to persuade R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company to remove its new Camel No. 9 cigarettes from stores.
The new product was launched by the tobacco giant last spring, and the ALF asserts the cigarettes are directly targeted to teenage girls and young women who do not already smoke.
“I think when you look at the packaging, you look at the advertising, you look at the demographics of who smokes and who starts to smoke, there’s really no other conclusion that can be drawn,” said Ellen Vargyas, general counsel and corporate secretary for the organization, on whether or not the company is targeting young women.
On Wednesday the group sent a letter to Susan Ivey, chairman of R.J. Reynolds, asking her to remove the advertisements immediately for the Camel No. 9 cigarettes and withdraw the product from the market. Accompanying the signature of Cheryl Healton, president and CEO of ALF, were the names of the top officers of groups such as the American Heart Association, the American Medical Women’s Association, and the American Lung Association, among others.
David Howard, head of external communications for R.J. Reynolds, said the company would welcome a meeting with the concerned parties to discuss the issue. He said the company strongly disagreed with the accusation that they were marketing to young women.
Vargyas said that the effort would be reexamined following a response from the letter, and that further steps were not yet planned. She did say, however, that any further effort would keep intact the coalition of groups. Golin Harris and Ad*itive are providing media support on the effort.