California Lawsuit Seeks To Force R.J. Reynolds To Change Advertising Practices
A California judge is scheduled to hear arguments today in a lawsuit claiming that R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Holdings is allegedly breaching the national tobacco settlement by advertising in magazines with a significant youth readership, the Wall Street Journal reports. Attorney General Bill Lockyer (D) filed the lawsuit last year. In a brief filed with the court last week, the state argues that Reynolds has "indirectly" targeted youths in its advertising by not taking "meaningful steps to avoid reaching significant numbers of teens." By advertising in magazines such as Sports Illustrated and Rolling Stone, the lawsuit says, Reynolds has "continuously and systematically targeted" minors. The state is seeking unspecified monetary sanctions and a court order to force Reynolds to alter its advertising practices, the Journal reports. Reynolds says that it limits its magazine adverting to publications that are aimed at adults and have a youth readership of less than 25%. In a brief filed last week, Reynolds says that to show a violation of the agreement, the state would need to prove that minors were the intended target of any advertising, which is not the case. Reynolds spokesperson Carole Crosslin said the company is "obeying both the letter and spirit" of the tobacco settlement and called the lawsuit an effort by California "to renegotiate the settlement through the courts" (Fairclough, Wall Street Journal, 4/22).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.