A new American Lung Association report, Alcohol-Flavored Cigarettes - Continuing the Flavored Cigarette Trend, shows that the tobacco industry continues to target the nation's youth and young adults with their deadly products using underhanded marketing tactics. With the world prepared to celebrate World No Tobacco Day tomorrow the American Lung Association is calling for stronger regulation of the tobacco industry for the sake of public health.

"May 31 is World No Tobacco Day, a day focusing on the impact of tobacco use on public health. Unfortunately, tobacco products remain virtually unregulated in the United States," said John L. Kirkwood, President and CEO of the American Lung Association. "Each day more than 4,000 kids under 18 try their first cigarette, and more than 1,500 other kids under 18 become established daily smokers."

R.J. Reynolds in particular has been aggressively targeting the youth and young adult market with several recent marketing campaigns that seek to link smoking with alcohol use, gambling and rebellious behavior.

The report details how R.J. Reynolds recently sold alcohol-flavored cigarettes as limited edition brands of an ongoing line of flavored cigarettes called Camel Exotic Blends. Included were packs of cigarettes with names such as Screwdriver Slots, SnakeEyes Scotch and Blackjack Gin. These new flavored cigarettes were sold as part of a larger promotional campaign called Camel Casino, which sought to link smoking with alcohol use and gambling. The promotional campaign ran from July 2005 through early 2006. Although R.J. Reynolds claimed these new cigarettes were marketed towards young adults, their appeal to youth who are beginning to experiment with alcohol is obvious.

"It's appalling that the tobacco industry is allowed to continue marketing and selling flavored cigarettes," said Kirkwood. "The industry's goal is obvious: To get young people hooked on smoking. Flavored cigarettes, like regular cigarettes, cause lung cancer and lung disease and should be banned for the sake of our children."

The Alcohol-Flavored Cigarettes - Continuing the Flavored Cigarette Trend report also divulges information about other marketing tactics recently used by R.J. Reynolds in cultivating young smokers. A campaign called Drinks on Us was exposed in December 2005 by several state Attorneys General. Customers celebrating their birthdays were mailed a promotional package that contained coasters imprinted with drink recipes some of which called for up to five shots of alcohol per drink. The campaign appeared to be designed to promote both smoking and excessive drinking.

Another separate campaign that began in spring 2006 for R.J. Reynolds' Camel Wides, a version of its Camel line of cigarettes, associates smoking with rebellious behavior using bar parties that feature graffiti artists, "rave" style paraphernalia, such as glow-in-the-dark necklaces, and offers to party-goers to get real tattoos at a discount.

"These recent marketing tactics continue to show the tobacco industry has not changed, and is continuing its attempts to hook a new generation on tobacco products," said Kirkwood.

A bill giving the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the authority to regulate tobacco products failed to pass in Congress in 2004. Identical FDA legislation was reintroduced in March 2005, and is still pending. The proposed FDA legislation would regulate the sale, marketing and manufacturing of all tobacco products. It would also prohibit all flavorings in cigarettes except menthol.

The full American Lung Association Tobacco Policy Trend Alert Addendum: Alcohol-Flavored Cigarettes - Continuing the Flavored Cigarette Trend can be viewed on the web at slati.lungusa/alerts.asp.

About the American Lung Association

Beginning our second century, the American Lung Association is the leading organization working to prevent lung disease and promote lung health. Lung disease death rates continue to increase while other leading causes of death have declined.

The American Lung Association funds vital research on the causes of and treatments for lung disease. With the generous support of the public, the American Lung Association is "Improving life, one breath at a time."

For more information about the American Lung Association or to support the work it does, call
1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872)
or log on to
lungusa.

Tag Cloud