Health groups including the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Legacy and the American Heart Association are asking several attorneys general to investigate a new ad campaign for Camel Crush cigarettes.
The groups say the ads target young people. They argue the ads may violate the Master Settlement Agreement between states and the tobacco industry, which bans cigarette makers from targeting children. The groups made their request in a letter to the co-chairs of the National Association of Attorneys General Tobacco Committee, Marty Jackley of South Dakota and Chris Koster of Missouri, ABC News reports.
Richard Smith, a spokesman for tobacco company Reynolds American Inc., which owns the Camel brand, said the company believes the ads are in full compliance with the settlement.
The ads have appeared in at least 24 magazines, including People and Sports Illustrated. They promote Camel Crush, which contains a capsule in the cigarette’s filter that releases menthol flavor.
According to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, this is the first time Reynolds has advertised cigarettes in magazines since December 2007, when the company faced scrutiny and legal action by nine states for engaging in marketing aimed at children. In a news release, the groups note several of the magazines have large teen readerships, including People, with nearly 3.2 million teen readers, ESPN the Magazine, with more than 2 million teen readers, and Sports Illustrated, with more than 1.7 million teen readers.