Attorneys General Criticize Tobacco Company Marketing Campaign
Attorney General Bill Lockyer (D) and the state attorneys general in Maryland and New York have asked tobacco company R.J. Reynolds to end a promotion that includes sending coasters with alcoholic drink recipes to people on their birthdays, the Los Angeles Times reports (Selvin/Hoffman, Los Angeles Times, 12/14).
In their complaint, the attorneys general say research has shown that people are more likely to smoke when drinking and smokers who regularly drink are almost twice as likely to develop genetic mutations associated with lung cancer as those who do not drink regularly (Gott, AP/Arizona Republic, 12/14).
The alcoholic beverage industry also has criticized the promotion and has accused Reynolds of marketing to minors and misusing alcohol company trademarks.
Peter Cressy, president of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, called the campaign an "unauthorized, irresponsible campaign condoning excessive, illegal drinking."
Maura Payne, vice president of communications for Reynolds, said the drink coasters are sent only to people who identified themselves as smokers and whose ages were independently verified to be older than 21. Payne said the promotion was scheduled to end in April, but that date is "currently being reviewed internally" in response to the attorneys' general complaint (Los Angeles Times, 12/14).