Tobacco health labels constitutional

A U.S. law requires large graphic warnings on cigarette packages and advertising does not violate free speech rights of tobacco companies, a federal appeals court ruled on Monday.
Cigarettes sued the manufacturers to stop the U.S. Food and Drug Administration new labeling and advertising requirements under rule violated their First Amendment right to communicate with adult consumers of tobacco.
But the Cincinnati-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th circuit has left most of the new regulatory framework of the FDA, including the requirement that tobacco companies are the big picture warnings on cigarette packs.
The decision comes on the heels of the Washington, DC, the ruling judge in the different but related case, has rejected demands by the FDA and, it seems, created a clash over the constitutionality of the rules of FDA.
Floyd Abrams, a lawyer Lorillard, said the difference in tone in the two actions and said the 6 th circuit case, the case of Washington, or both, is likely to end up in the U.S. Supreme Court.
The difference in these two cases is that the FDA did not provide concrete images, when the company filed a lawsuit six Circuit. While the lawsuit focuses on Washington’s image, the appellate court considered the broader question of the normative power of FDA.
“There can be no doubt that the government has a substantial interest in preventing underage smoking and warning the population about the dangers of using tobacco products,” Judge Eric Clay wrote for the three-judge panel of the Sixth Circuit.
Congress passed a law in 2009 and ordered the FDA to take specific warning label rules. The labels must be in color, should include the top 50 percent before a pack of cigarettes and rear panels, and should cover the top 20 percent of print advertising.
After the tobacco companies, including RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co and Lorillard Inc, Lorillard Tobacco Co, sued to block the law, FDA presented the nine images to go on cigarette packs, including graphic images of corpses, diseased lungs and rotting teeth. Companies blame the government forcing them to spread anti-smoking message in order to embarrass and stigmatize already informed consumers.
Two judges of the majority of the Court of Appeal panel disagreed with the companies on the label claim, arguing that the fact that the specific images can cause an aversion does the requirement of the Constitution. Most say that it was just a decision on the constitutionality of the law on its face, rather than specific images that FDA imposed after the lawsuit was filed.
Dissent PHOTO
Judge Clay, who wrote the main opinion upholding most of the FDA rules, objected, however, the ruling on the graphic label. He called the rules “is simply unprecedented.” Although the Government may require the manufacturer to provide truthful information, “it is less clearly permissible for the government, just to scare the consumer or otherwise attempt to manipulate the emotions of the consumer roughly, as he seeks to do here,” Clay wrote.
February 29, DC, District Judge Richard Leon ruled that the FDA violated the images free speech rights of tobacco companies. He found that warning labels were too high and that the government has a lot of other tools at its disposal to prevent smoking, such as raising taxes on cigarettes, including simple factual information on the label, not the horrible images.
The Obama administration appealed that ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia on March 5.
Lorillard’s lawyer says Abrams appeals court on Monday the decision does not necessarily conflict with the decision of Leon.
“The court made it clear that focuses on the law as written, rather than on its implementation,” said Abrams.
Ministry of Justice did not immediately provide comment.
6th circuit is also supported by other rules of FDA, including restrictions on the marketing of “light” cigarettes, the distribution of free samples of tobacco sponsorship of events. The court overturned a rule prohibiting the use of color and graphics in advertising.
“We are pleased the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the continued use of colors and images in our advertising,” said the spokesman for RJ Reynolds, Brian hatchel.

Tobacco industry relying on movies for brand promotion

Smoking-in-Movies
The tobacco industry is increasingly leaning on movies for the promotion of its business in India and several other countries following the ban on tobacco advertising, the WHO has warned.
Of late, the industry has also been denied the sponsorship of sports and music events, compelling it to shift its focus to films, the global health body observes in the report “Smokefree movies: From evidence to action”.
A survey of popular films has shown that tobacco brand displays exploded in Bollywood after its advertising was banned in the media in 2004. Of the 395 top grossers in 1990-2002, 76 per cent depicted the use of tobacco. The percentage of scenes showing lead actors or heroes using tobacco increased from 22 in 1991 to 54 in 2002. Of the 110 Hindi movies produced in 2004-2005, 89 per cent depicted tobacco use. The lead actors were shown smoking in 76 per cent of these movies.
The brand display was more or less even between premium cigarette brands belonging to the British American Tobacco, its Indian partner (the Indian Tobacco Company) and competing brands belonging to the Philip Morris International, whose entry into the Indian market coincided with the ban on tobacco advertising.
Using movies to promote smoking is a global phenomenon. In the UK, where almost all forms of tobacco advertising are prohibited, youth-rated films from the US contained 83 per cent of all tobacco visuals in 2001-2006. In Australia, a study in 2008 found that 70 per cent of the total movies showed smoking scenes, including 75 per cent of the most popular films. In Canada, a 2009 survey revealed that 75 per cent of tobacco-related shots appeared in youthrated movies.
The on-screen smoking images – branded or otherwise – are generally consistent with cigarette advertising than with the authentic representations of the dire health consequences of tobacco use, the WHO states. Such images benefit the tobacco industry and increase among the youth the initiative to smoke, the report adds.
Hamish Maxwell, the then president of Philip Morris International and later the CEO of Philip Morris Companies, had recognised this fact in 1983, the report states, quoting him as saying the important thing was to “continue to exploit new opportunities to get cigarettes on screen” in order to keep smoking socially acceptable.
WHO suggests adult rating for movies with tobacco scenes to lower the chances of their influence on the youths. An exception can be made for the movies depicting dangerous consequences of tobacco use, it adds.

Reel effect for real

  • Movies have been linked to youth smoking in India, China, Hong Kong, England, Germany, Thailand, The Netherlands, Poland, Scotland, Italy, Mexico and Iceland
  • Of the 395 top-grossing films in 1990-2002 in India, 76 per cent depicted tobacco use
  • Scenes showing lead actors/heroes using tobacco increased from 22 per cent in 1991 to 54 per cent in 2002
  • Of the 110 Hindi movies produced in 2004 and 2005, 89 per cent depicted tobacco use. Lead actors were seen smoking in 76 per cent of the movies

Tobacco bonding pros and cons

Tobacco bonding has pros and cons. Securitization allows cash-strapped states to use the tobacco dollars right away, rather than wait for smaller payments spread over a number of years. The flip side is that the interest a state must pay investors who buy the bonds can really add up. In the end, a state may end up with a fraction of the money it otherwise would have received over the long term.
In Minnesota, an analyst from the state House of Representatives did the math on selling $700 million worth of tobacco bonds — more than the $640 million that ended up in the final budget deal. The analysis found that it would cost the state $315 million in debt service over the next two years to access that $700 million upfront, bringing the total cost over the 20-year life of the bonds to total some $1.2 billion. The analysis cautions, however, “These preliminary estimates are highly dependent on the market at the time of the sale, the state’s bond rating, and the structure of the bonds; they are subject to change.”
The market for tobacco bonds also could be problematic for the state. Dick Larkin, senior vice president and director of credit analysis at Herbert J. Sims & Co., says that the heyday for new tobacco bond issuances was 2005-07 when the demand from investors was high and the yield on a 40-year bond was 5 percent. But early this year interest on 40-year bonds ranged between 8 and 10 percent. That means states would have to pay more to issue tobacco bonds, because investors see them as more of a risk.
The reason why they’ve been viewed as more of a risk is because of an ongoing dispute between states and the tobacco companies they settled with. The tobacco companies have been arguing that they shouldn’t have to pay as much as they agreed to in 1998 because they have lost market share to other manufacturers that are not part of the settlement.
According to Larkin, there are rumors on Wall Street that the tobacco companies and states are close to resolving the $7 billion dispute, which would bring some stability to the market. And investors like stability. “The market is still crummy,” Larkin says, “but it’s improving.”
However, Larkin adds that the tobacco bond market still faces major challenges. Americans are smoking less, which is eating into the profit of tobacco companies and resulting in reduced revenue for states to repay those bonds, he says. Decreasing tobacco use was one of the reasons that Standard & Poor’s last November downgraded 51 tobacco bonds in 16 states to “junk” status.
On the other hand, if tobacco companies were to some day go bankrupt, the states that have issued bonds would look brilliant because they would have already received their payments.

States that have borrowed from tobacco funds
* Alabama
* Alaska
* Arkansas
* California
* Illinois
* Iowa
* Louisiana
* Michigan
* Minnesota
* Ohio
* North Dakota
* New Jersey
* New York
* Rhode Island
* Virginia
* South Carolina
* South Dakota
* Washington
* West Virginia

Mixed results
Rhode Island has borrowed from its future tobacco payments twice, with mixed results, says Gary Sasse, who served in several key tax and revenue Cabinet positions for former Rhode Island Governor Donald L. Carcieri and now directs the Bryant Institute for Public Leadership in Smithfield, Rhode Island.
The first time, Rhode Island used future tobacco proceeds to pay down its debt. Sasse sees that as a smart move. But the second time, the state used the future payments to help balance the budget, which Sasse says did nothing to help Rhode Island with its long-term problem of not having enough revenue to pay for all the services the state provides. It’s the latter scenario that Sasse sees states turning to tobacco bonds for, using them as a bridge to get by until revenues bounce back. “Hope burns eternal,” he says, but with the uncertain economy and market “that’s a hard bet to make.”
In Minnesota, the budget deal will buy some time. But Wall Street doesn’t seem impressed. Already, one credit rating agency, Fitch Ratings, has downgraded the rating on approximately $5.7 billion in Minnesota general obligation bonds to ‘AA+’ from ‘AAA,’ citing the state’s reliance on one-time fixes. Other agencies may follow suit. That would mean the state could have to pay more to borrow.
For anti-smoking activists, Minnesota’s decision to use tobacco money to balance the budget is troubling for another reason. “The state should be spending that money from the settlement for which it was intended: to help people stop smoking or to make sure they don’t start,” says Dan Cronin of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids in Washington, D.C., which monitors the settlement.
The campaign’s latest report shows that states have cut funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs to the lowest level since 1999. In the fiscal year that just ended, the group estimates that states collected $25 billion in revenue from the tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes, but only spent 2 percent of those funds ($518 million) on programs to prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit. “We’re not a fan” of tobacco bonding, Cronin says.
By Pamela M. Prah
Statelin

Despite warnings it appears smoking is still the fashion

A RASH of fashion images depicting models smoking or holding cigarettes or cigars is being investigated for possible breaches of the smoking modelTobacco Advertising Prohibition Act.
Quit Victoria executive director Fiona Sharkie said images produced by fashion brand Ellery and internet magazine Tangent were referred to the Department of Health and Ageing for investigation and could lead to prosecution. The act prohibits ”any picture that gives publicity to or otherwise promotes or is intended to promote smoking”.
”It’s disappointing that they’re promoting highly aspirational products with a product that kills up to half of users,” Ms Sharkie said.
Other images out of the reach of the act because they were circulated from other countries include Chanel, Marc Jacobs and Jean Paul Gaultier.
”You have to ask, ‘Would [the images] be any less appealing or beautiful without the cigarette?’ Ms Sharkie said.
In recent years, despite aggressive anti-smoking lobbies and regulations in many countries, fashion stylists have continued to use smoking imagery to shock, or evoke historic ideas of glamour or power. Maverick designer Tom Ford started the current wave in 2004 with a procession of suave young blokes for Gucci: slicked hair, lean playboy suits, clinking whisky tumblers and fat cigars clutched in manicured fingers. Gaultier is also a frequent offender, notorious for the cigar and cigarette props on both his women’s and men’s wear catwalks. And, more recently, Marc Jacobs of Louis Vuitton hired Kate Moss to puff expertly along his catwalk.
”It can be part of their creative process,” says Graeme Lewsey, CEO of the Melbourne Fashion Festival. ”It’s not meant to promote a lifestyle choice, but there’s a very fine line.”
During the early years of Australian Fashion Week, Mr Lewsey and that event’s founder, Simon Lock, established an industry-wide initiative to discourage glamourised smoking images. Tobacco sponsors were also deemed unacceptable partners.
”We do have to be mindful, though, that we’re a platform of creative expression,” Mr Lewsey said yesterday. ”A designer trying to create a mood, or an era when people smoked freely, might be part of that expression.”
It might also be a prosecutable offence. Peter Bartlett of Minter Ellison lawyers said: ”It comes down to this … people showing images of people smoking are walking a tightrope because if in any way [it] seems to glamourise smoking, it could be seen to be in breach [of the act].”
A lack of malicious intention won’t negate the problem. ”It might be some stylist not aware of the law,” Ms Sharkie said, ”but, that’s not an excuse.”
Sydney brand Ellery is counted among fashion’s most desirable and recently signed to Myer’s stable of exclusive labels, but the opening page of its fall 2011 campaign features a photograph of a model smoking. When the possible breach of the act was noticed, designer Kym Ellery was in Paris and could not be reached for comment. However, her PR agent Emma Van Haandel immediately announced the image would be removed.
Tangent magazine, also regarded as one of fashion’s coolest platforms, posted several video and photographic editorials of topless or scantily dressed models smoking cigarettes and cigars to its current issue. One shot includes a jacket by Alex Perry. ”No, not cool,” said the designer. ”Artistically, they are beautiful images but they’re misleading, especially for a younger market.”
Perry said he did not have artistic control over stylists who borrow samples for media such as Tangent, but he would contact this one, ”for a chat”.
It is an issue close to his heart since 2007, when one of his photos, of a bride smoking a cigarette, was found to be in breach of the Australian Association of National Advertisers Code of Ethics by the self-regulatory Advertising Standards Bureau. ”I did think it was a beautiful image; sort of Helmut Newton, 1940s, movie star,” he said. ”And I was a smoker then, so I don’t think I even thought about the cigarette. But I woke up that it was a silly thing to do. I felt really negligent. I would never use a cigarette in an ad again.”
By Janice Breen Burns

FDA reveals new labels required on packages, ads

Cigarette packages will soon be splashed with horror-movie-style warning labels showing corpses, diseased lungs, and rotted teeth, which were among nine new images unveiled yesterday by the Food and Drug Administration. By September 2012, cigarette manufacturers will be required to place these images across the top half of every pack, with large-type warnings such as “smoking can kill you’’ and “cigarettes are addictive.’’
The new images will replace the small white warning boxes that have adorned cigarette packages unchanged for more than two decades; they are required under a federal law passed in 2009 that gave the FDA regulatory authority over cigarettes. The same new warnings will appear on print ads and must take up at least 20 percent of the ad space.
“The new graphic warnings will make a powerful difference,’’ FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg said in an interview. “Research demonstrates that they encourage smokers to quit and nonsmokers to not start.’’
Packages will also contain the 1-800-QUIT-NOW toll-free telephone number, she added, to provide smokers with a resource to help them quit.
Greg Connolly, a professor at Harvard’s School of Public Health and former director of Massachusetts’ tobacco control program, called the new labels “a marvelous improvement over what we’ve had for over 25 years.’’ But he cautioned that they won’t work unless they’re accompanied by a mass media campaign, similar to ads that Massachusetts and some other states have aired featuring “real people telling real stories.’’
While graphic warning labels appear to galvanize people to quit in the short term, there is no evidence that those smokers quit for good, he added.
Some 43 countries, including Canada, Great Britain, and Brazil, already require large graphic warnings on cigarette packages, and a European Union directive gives its 27 member countries the option of adding pictures to warnings as a way to educate smokers about risks.
A 2006 study found that two-thirds of smokers in four countries that have graphic warning labels reported that the package was an important source of health information and strongly associated with an intention to quit smoking.
David Pham, a Boston financial analyst, remembers his reaction when a friend offered him a cigarette from a Canadian box featuring the warnings. “I didn’t even want to smoke anymore . . . I told him I’ll pass,’’ said the 28-year-old. But while he’s been trying to quit ever since, he still smokes up to a pack a day. “When you need a fix, you’re still going to buy it,’’ he said as he puffed on a cigarette outside his office near South Station.
Matthew Myers, president of the nonprofit advocacy group Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said the current warning labels have lost their effectiveness and the new, more graphic warnings “counter images that the tobacco industry is seeking to project — that smoking makes a person strong, cool, and independent.’’
Indeed, one can clearly see the consequences of a smoking-induced heart attack in the face of a man, lying with his tie askew, whose nose and mouth are covered with an oxygen mask. While warning labels will no longer mention lung cancer and emphysema, they will show tobacco’s devastating effects through images of smoke seeping out of a tracheotomy hole in a smoker’s neck.
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Connolly was concerned that some of the labels could be seen as demeaning to smokers. “People just turn off,’’ he said. And he also noted that the industry has a track record of countering federal regulations.
Last year, the FDA banned the sale of tobacco products with descriptors such as “light,” “low,” or “mild,” saying they misled consumers to believe that such products were less damaging to their health than other cigarettes. But manufacturers replaced the words with colors that critics say convey the same message. And a recent Harvard School of Public Health survey found that an overwhelming majority of smokers of brands formerly labeled light, medium, or ultra-light said they could easily identify their usual brand of cigarettes by color, even without the descriptors. “That’s not a good success story,’’ said Connolly.
The results of the survey will be released today at a conference examining FDA regulation of tobacco.
Cigarette manufacturers are challenging the legality of the new labels in a federal lawsuit and say the size of the warnings make the company brands “difficult, if not impossible, to see.’’ They claim the 2009 law violates their right to free speech. A spokesperson for Altria, which owns Philip Morris, said in an e-mail that the company is reviewing the new images but made no further comment.
Before selecting the nine images, the FDA conducted studies involving 18,000 participants — including children, pregnant women, and seniors — to determine which graphics had the most powerful effects.
An estimated 47 million people smoke in the United States, and nearly half a million die every year of smoking-related causes. In Massachusetts, more than 8,000 residents die each year from the effects of smoking, and 1,000 or more die from the effects of secondhand smoke, according to the state Department of Public Health.
On the streets of Boston, the new warnings received a mixed reaction from smokers. “This is gross,’’ said 24-year-old makeup artist Stephanie Johnson as she flipped through printouts of the nine images with a Camel between her fingers. “I don’t think it’s really that necessary.’’
Johnson’s first memory of cigarettes is her aunt’s box of Newports, always resting on a coffee table or countertop during family functions. Had those boxes included a picture of a corpse, Johnson acknowledged, she might have thought twice before she began smoking in college.
“I would have thought, ‘That’s the gross stuff that makes your lungs icky,’ ’’ she said.
But Christopher Comeau, who started smoking when he was 12, doesn’t think the labels would have had any impact on him. “I already know it’s bad for me. But I do it anyway,’’ he said and reached for his pack of cigarettes. “Now I want another one.’’
Deborah Kotz
dkotz@globe.com.

Teens Highly Susceptible to Tobacco Advertising

Every year the tobacco industry spends literally, billions of dollars on promotion, sponsorship and advertising. Tobacco advertising increases teen smokerstobacco consumption. Teens are at especially high risk of starting to smoke product advertisements and viewing such ads alone is guaranteed to start more youths on this habit.
Nearly a quarter of all high school students in the United States smoke cigarettes, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Of these, nearly a third will continue smoking and die early from a smoking-related disease.
Though cigarette advertisements have been tied to teen smoking before, the study — which appeared in Pediatrics — showed that tobacco ads have an impact even when other advertising doesn’t.
There had been speculation that previous studies had simply identified teenagers who were receptive to all kinds of behavioral prompts, such as advertising in general, said James Sargent of Dartmouth Medical School in Hanover, New Hampshire, who took part in the study along with German researchers.
“This study shows that it is the specific images from tobacco ads that predict smoking and not such a character trait,” he told Reuters Health in an email.
Sargent and his colleagues surveyed 2,100 teens aged 10 to 17 who had never smoked, showing them billboard advertisements for six different cigarettes and eight other commercial products, with all brand information removed.
Each teen was then asked how often they had seen each image and if they could identify the represented brand.
During the following nine months, about 13 percent of the teens began smoking.
The top third of teens in terms of exposure to advertisements and brand recognition had nearly a 50 percent greater risk of lighting up, on average, compared to teens in the bottom third.
This was true even after accounting for other possible risk factors, such as age, sex, family’s economic situation, school performance, and having a friend or family member who smoked.
Sargent said young teens were particularly vulnerable because that was the time at which they were eager to develop identities independent of parents.
“They do this by ‘trying on’ things they see others doing, much like trying on clothes in a store. They try smoking, in part because of the way they view other smokers and also in part because of what they think smoking might do for them,” he said.
“For example, a young male might adopt smoking to appear more manly — like the Marlboro man.”
Tobacco advertisements may directly or subtly hint that smoking is tied to sex appeal, independence or, for girls, thinness. Cigarette advertisements are banned from U.S. billboards, televisions and radios, and they have become rare in print magazines. Still, both the U.S. and Germany lag behind nations such as Italy and New Zealand, which have implemented total bans on cigarette advertising.
The researchers said that when teens abstain from smoking, they may be unlikely to pick up the habit later in life. But roughly 30 percent of teen smokers will continue to smoke and die early of a smoking-related disease, according to the CDC.
“In this way, smoking causes more death than alcohol, obesity and illicit drug use combined,” said Sargent.
Teenagers who frequently encounter the Marlboro man, or other familiar icons of the tobacco and cigarette industry, may be more likely to be lured into lighting up, according to a study.
Nearly a quarter of all high school students in the United States smoke cigarettes, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Of these, nearly a third will continue smoking and die early from a smoking-related disease.
Though cigarette advertisements have been tied to teen smoking before, the study — which appeared in Pediatrics — showed that tobacco ads have an impact even when other advertising doesn’t.
There had been speculation that previous studies had simply identified teenagers who were receptive to all kinds of behavioral prompts, such as advertising in general, said James Sargent of Dartmouth Medical School in Hanover, New Hampshire, who took part in the study along with German researchers.
“This study shows that it is the specific images from tobacco ads that predict smoking and not such a character trait,” he told Reuters Health in an email.
Sargent and his colleagues surveyed 2,100 teens aged 10 to 17 who had never smoked, showing them billboard advertisements for six different cigarettes and eight other commercial products, with all brand information removed.
Each teen was then asked how often they had seen each image and if they could identify the represented brand.
During the following nine months, about 13 percent of the teens began smoking.
The top third of teens in terms of exposure to advertisements and brand recognition had nearly a 50 percent greater risk of lighting up, on average, compared to teens in the bottom third.
This was true even after accounting for other possible risk factors, such as age, sex, family’s economic situation, school performance, and having a friend or family member who smoked.
Sargent said young teens were particularly vulnerable because that was the time at which they were eager to develop identities independent of parents.
“They do this by ‘trying on’ things they see others doing, much like trying on clothes in a store. They try smoking, in part because of the way they view other smokers and also in part because of what they think smoking might do for them,” he said.
“For example, a young male might adopt smoking to appear more manly — like the Marlboro man.”
Tobacco advertisements may directly or subtly hint that smoking is tied to sex appeal, independence or, for girls, thinness. Cigarette advertisements are banned from U.S. billboards, televisions and radios, and they have become rare in print magazines. Still, both the U.S. and Germany lag behind nations such as Italy and New Zealand, which have implemented total bans on cigarette advertising.
The researchers said that when teens abstain from smoking, they may be unlikely to pick up the habit later in life. But roughly 30 percent of teen smokers will continue to smoke and die early of a smoking-related disease, according to the CDC.
“In this way, smoking causes more death than alcohol, obesity and illicit drug use combined,” said Sargent.
Tobacco companies such as British American Tobacco and Philip Morris have adopted a public posture of opposition to teenage smoking and even funded anti-smoking initiatives for teenagers. But an investigation by the Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) which is based in the United Kingdom, and The Cancer Research Campaign, has revealed that this is no more than a public relations strategy. The purpose is to fend off meaningful restrictions on tobacco advertising and gain PR advantage, while proposing only measures that are unlikely to reduce youth smoking and likely make it more attractive by positioning cigarettes as an adult product and smoking as rebellious.
Virtually all tobacco advertising is now illegal in the UK and many other countries. The Tobacco Advertising & Promotion Act 2002 came into force in November 2002 in the UK, with most advertising ending on 14th February 2003 and a gradual fade out for the rest by July 2005.
Since the implementation of the final stage of the tobacco advertising ban in 2005, ASH has carefully monitored the situation to try and stop any direct or indirect breaches of the law.
Tobacco companies have concentrated sponsorship on successful, high-profile sports in order to ensure maximum coverage for their products. These sports are extremely attractive to sponsors and other companies have gradually replaced sponsorship from tobacco companies without difficulty. Even Formula One, the sport most reliant on tobacco, announced in 1998 that it would replace its tobacco sponsorship within four years.
Tobacco is a unique consumer product as there is no safe level of use and half of all life-long smokers die prematurely from smoking-related diseases. Despite the harm caused by smoking, tobacco products are largely unregulated while medicinal nicotine used as an aid to stop smoking is very tightly controlled.
Source: Pediatrics

R.J. Reynolds Uses Austin Name and Images to Market Camel Cigarettes to Kids

camel break adventure
WASHINGTON, – Joe Camel may have been put out to pasture, but his spirit lives on in camel-cigarettes-campaign that once again tries to make Camel cigarettes cool, fun and rebellious – and appealing to kids.  The new campaign cynically uses the names and images of trendy U.S. destinations, including Seattle, Austin, San Francisco, Las Vegas, New Orleans, and Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood, in an attempt to make Camel cigarettes cool again.  RJR has unveiled cigarette pack designs bearing the name of each city on its Camel web site and has told the media that it will sell limited edition cigarette packs with the city names in December and January (images from the campaign can be viewed at www.tobaccofreekids.org/pressoffice/camelpromotion).
It is deeply disturbing that RJR is using the good name and hard-earned reputation of these great American cities to market deadly and addictive cigarettes, especially in a way that blatantly appeals to children. Certainly the citizens and leaders of these cities do not want to be associated with a product that kills more than 400,000 Americans every year.  RJR showed truly shameless disregard for the death and suffering its products cause by calling this campaign a “celebration” of the locations involved.
This campaign shows that RJR has not changed and continues to have blatant disregard for the health of America’s children.  We call on RJR to immediately end this marketing campaign and withdraw its plans to introduce the special edition cigarette packs.  We also urge state attorneys general to investigate whether this promotion violates the 1998 state tobacco settlement’s prohibition on tobacco marketing that targets children.  This campaign also underscores the need to step up the implementation of proven measures to reduce tobacco use.  These include effective regulation of tobacco products and marketing, including the graphic cigarette warnings unveiled this week by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration; well-funded tobacco prevention and cessation programs nationally and in every state; higher tobacco taxes; and smoke-free workplace laws.
Several weeks ago, RJR launched this new online and direct mail marketing campaign, called the “Break Free Adventure,” in which the Camel brand “visits” 10 different U.S. locations over a 10-week period.  Visitors to the Camel web site can win prizes by reading a clue and guessing where Camel is that week.  Each week, a new package design for Camel cigarettes is unveiled that features the name of that week’s location and some of its iconic images. Other locations include Route 66; Bonneville Salt Flats, UT; Sturgis, SD; and Winston-Salem, NC.
The locations involved have several qualities in common, including an association with independent music, fun times, rebellion and freedom of the road.  By associating cigs4us.biz/virginia-cigarette with these locations and their trendy reputations, RJR is continuing its longstanding efforts to make the Camel brand appealing to youth.  It truly is the Joe Camel campaign all over again.  It echoes many of the youth-appealing themes of the Joe Camel campaign, in which the now-banned cartoon camel was often depicted with fast cars and motorcycles or having fun at parties.
The most disturbing part of RJR’s campaign is that it shamelessly appropriates the names and images of the locations involved to promote Camel cigarettes in ways that appeal to youth.  Here are some examples:

  • In unveiling the “Camel Seattle” pack, RJR’s marketing materials state, “Home of grunge, a coffee revolution and alternatives who’ll probably tell you they’re only happy when it rains.”
  • For the “Camel Williamsburg-Brooklyn” pack: “Some call it the most famous hipster neighborhood. But it’s not about hip. It’s about breaking free.  It’s about last call, a sloppy kiss goodbye and a solo saunter to a rock show in an abandoned building.”
  • For the “Camel Austin” pack: “Name a live show that rocked history – we’ll put money that Camel was there.  So Camel two-steps its way to Texas for a Lone Star taste of that independent spirit and all-access pass to the ‘live music capital of the world.'”
  • For the “Camel Bonneville-Salt Flats” pack: “This is no backseat adventure.  Camel’s been at the wheel of some of the fastest driving machines of history.  What’s faster than a racecar pulverizing the air at over 600 mph? Camel’s back with the pedal pulsing and the clutch primed for popping.  Buckle up – and break free.”
  • For the “Camel The Haight-San Francisco” pack: “The Summer of Love, protests to be civil and a rainbow of counterculture.  Whether you started here or put flowers in your hair, grabbed a drum and hitched a ride on a painted minibus, Camel lights up this little piece of San Francisco that pulses with the spirit to evolve, revolve or revolt and follows the force to break free.”

RJR has a long history of trying to make Camel cigarettes appealing to youth, most notoriously with the Joe Camel campaign that ended in 1997.  In 2004, RJR introduced candy and fruit-flavored versions of Camel, including one called Kauai Kolada that was condemned by Hawai’i officials as “disgusting and offensive” for using the Kauai name to market cigarettes.  In 2005, state attorneys general forced RJR to end a promotion called “Drinks On Us” in which the company mailed customers celebrating their birthdays a promotional package of drink coasters, mixed drink recipes and slogans encouraging excessive drinking.  In 2007, RJR launched its Camel No. 9 cigarette, which a newspaper dubbed “Barbie Camel” for its fashion-oriented marketing campaign and promotional giveaways such as lip balm and cell phone jewelry that clearly appealed to girls.
SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

State ask RJ Reynolds to stop Camel cigarette marketing campaign

The National Association of Attorneys General is trying to snuff out the latest edgy marketing campaign for Camel camel seattle advertising campaigncigarettes.
The group is asking cigarette maker RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co. to stop a promotional campaign for cigs4us.biz/virginia-cigarette that the group says appeals to young people.
In a letter to the nation’s second-largest cigarette maker, the group said Reynolds’ “Break Free Adventure” campaign has substantial youth appeal and may encourage underage tobacco use.
“We are concerned that this advertising campaign is using aspects of popular culture, including independent music, art, motor sports, and ‘hip’ or countercultural attitudes, to camel-cigarettes-promotional-campaign in a way that is appealing to young people’s psychological needs for rebelliousness, sensation-seeking, and risk-taking,” the group said in a Nov. 23 letter. It was written by Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning and Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, co-chairmen of the group’s tobacco committee.
The group also cited the 1998 tobacco settlement that prohibits the marketing of tobacco to youth. Those restrictions included a ban on Reynolds’ use of the cartoon character “Joe Camel.”
The campaign highlights 10 destinations including Las Vegas, San Francisco and New Orleans on special cigarette packs being distributed in December and January that feature colorful images of the cities and well-known landmarks. It also includes: Austin, Texas; Seattle; Bonneville Flats, Utah; Sturgis, S.D.; Route 66; Winston-Salem, N.C.; and Brooklyn, N.Y.’s Williamsburg neighborhood. Reynolds had taken the camel off of packages and encouraged smokers to go a special website to find the camel and win prizes.
RJ Reynolds, a subsidiary of Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Reynolds American Inc., says the campaign targets adult smokers.
Spokeswoman Maura Payne said the company responded to the group’s letter on Wednesday and said it would be happy to meet with the group, but it does not believe that the direct-marketing promotion violates its obligation under the 1998 tobacco settlement.
The promotion is “clearly very adult and very limited,” Payne said.
State attorneys general were also joined by various state and local officials in some featured cities in recently demanding that Reynolds stop the campaign.
Washington State Gov. Chris Gregoire said in a statement last week that she was “alarmed and disappointed” by the marketing campaign that “exploits the name and image of Seattle to recruit young smokers.” Some of the special edition cigarette packs feature landmarks in and around Seattle, including the Pike Place Market and Mt. Rainier.
In a letter to Reynolds in early November, New York City Health Commissioner Thomas A. Farley urged the company to stop the promotion, which includes scenes of Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood.
“Your campaign threatens to undermine our recent gains by misrepresenting an addictive, lethal product as a passport to fun and independence,” Farley wrote. “Promoting the idea that young New Yorkers can ‘break free’ and earn ‘street cred’ by smoking Camel cigarettes may be effective, but it is wrong.”
Ever since Reynolds agreed to participate in the landmark 1998 Master Settlement Agreement that restricted its advertising options, the company has tried to walk a fine line in marketing to young adults. Those campaigns include its Camel No. 9 style and Camel Artist Packs.
The group said in the letter that it targets campaigns that use “art, music and fashion in a way that resulted in an unacceptably high level of exposure of Reynolds’ products to youth.”
In December 2007, Reynolds voluntarily stopped promotions for a Camel campaign aimed at adult listeners of independent, or“indie,” rock music.
That decision came a day after Reynolds was sued by nine state attorneys general — not including North Carolina — over ads for Camel cigarettes that ran in Rolling Stone magazine. The magazine ran four pages of Camel ads as bookends to five pages about indie rock music that had cartoon images.
“We understand Reynolds’ position is that it is not targeting youth in this Camel promotion, but instead is directing it to consumers of legal smoking age,” the group said.
“It is important for Reynolds to realize, however, that although the promotion may be of interest to adult smokers … it may encourage the initiation of tobacco use in minors.”

Alcohol and tobacco advertising bans don't work

Bans on alcohol and tobacco marketing are among the least effective tactics for combating underage drinking and smoking, according to a Penn State economist, who has studied the effects of advertising since 1985.
“My conclusion is that the emphasis on advertising bans and similar regulations
in the public health literature is misplaced,” said Jon Nelson, professor emeritus of economics. “More effective policies need to be sought to deal with issues of youthful risk-taking associated with alcohol and tobacco.”
Among the deficiencies, Nelson reported that there were problems with how researchers selected people to participate in their studies and how they drew conclusions from the data they collected.
“The studies, in fact, are deficient in so many respects that the big question is whether there’s any influence of marketing at all, especially the mass media,” Nelson said.
Policy makers and advocacy groups use these studies to initiate and justify bans on alcohol and tobacco product advertising in order to lower the social costs associated with using these products and to promote youth health. According to Nelson, the American Medical Association and the World Health Organization are among the organizations that uncritically cite these studies in their advocacy of tobacco and alcohol advertising bans.
Nelson recommended several ways to improve studies on youth alcohol and tobacco behaviors. Researchers who explore advertising’s influence on youth drinking and smoking should better identify why variables, such as peer and parental influences, are included in the study and choose variables that more effectively measure the exposure of alcohol and tobacco marketing in youth behavior.
In a recent review of 20 youth drinking studies and 26 youth smoking studies published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Nelson found that only 33 percent of the results were statistically significant in linking marketing with youth drinking. He considered only 49 percent of the results significant on marketing and youth smoking behavior.
“These studies should be done against a well-defined scientific standard for an empirical investigation,” said Nelson. “There is really no such thing as a perfect study, but the object should be to get closer to those acceptable standards.”
Nelson identified longitudinal studies that measured the influence of a range of alcohol and tobacco marketing efforts including mass media, in-store displays, branded merchandise, movie portrayals and brand recognition. The participant in a longitudinal study is interviewed or surveyed over two or more years.
Nelson looked at these studies in two categories, youth drinking and youth smoking. Although these studies had common features, they were treated separately because they used slightly different models to explore advertising receptivity and exposure. Nelson then offered critical assessments of the studies in each category, paying particular attention to the consistency of empirical results among the studies.
The review reinforced findings in Nelson’s previous work. In 2001 and 2010 studies, he showed advertising bans in European countries did not reduce adult alcohol consumption. In 2003 and 2006 studies, he reported a similar finding for tobacco advertising bans.
Provided by Pennsylvania State University

Liberals deny involvement in tobacco-funded anti-Labor ads

CANBERRA – The Liberal Party has denied it is involved in a tobacco company-funded anti-Labor advertising blitz, saying it would also consider implementing plain packaging.
Howard Government advisers and Liberal Party strategists reportedly have helped devise the A$5 million ($6.2 million) ad campaign by a group of allied retailers. The Alliance of Australian Retailers, funded mainly by British American Tobacco and Philip Morris, wants to stop proposed laws for plain packaging of tobacco.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said his party had “absolutely nothing to do with any sort of pro-smoking campaign”. If the coalition was elected to power on August 21, it would “certainly consider” implementing plain packaging, he said.
Liberal senator Cory Bernardi said he was confident the party was not involved with the alliance.
“If they want to talk about who is captive to spin doctors and special interests you have to look no further than the Labor Party,” he told Sky News.
Crosby Textor, the market research and polling company which advises the Liberal Party, has denied any involvement in the ad campaign despite assertions it had organised research for the ads.
The alliance denies the Liberal Party is involved in its campaign. “That’s definitely untrue,” spokeswoman Sheryle Moon said.
Anti-smoking groups have moved quickly to slam the ad blitz, saying it is all about protecting the interests of big tobacco companies.
But Moon said it was more about regulation of the measure because it added time to transactions and was costly for business. She said the campaign, which cost “around” A$5 million, would run until the policy was overturned.