R.J. Reynolds settles with Gansler

Nick Rees Jan. 27, 2010, 3:00pm


BALTIMORE (Legal Newsline) - R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company will end its use of cartoons and brand name merchandise and restrict its marketing practice for its tobacco product brands in Maryland following a settlement with state Attorney General Douglas Gansler.

Gansler alleged that R.J. Reynolds' Camel Farm marketing campaign's alleged use of cartoons and brand name merchandise was in violation of the 1998 Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement and Consent Decree. In addition to ending its campaign, R.J. Reynolds will pay the state of Maryland $150,000.

"In its Camel Farm campaign, Reynolds turned a blind eye to its obligations under the MSA to never again use cartoons or to give away branded trinkets to promote its deadly products in Maryland," Gansler said.

"These dangerous tobacco industry tactics sabotage efforts by public health professionals, doctors, parents and educators to prevent smoking among youth and young adults.

"This settlement holds Reynolds accountable for bringing the Camel Farm campaign to Maryland in the first place and, by specifying and clarifying the MSA's restrictions on cartoons and giveaways, prevents Reynolds from evading these important protections in the future."

Reynolds is prohibited by the 1998 MSA from using cartoons or distributing brand name merchandise to promote its cigarettes. In Dec. 2007, Maryland and eight other states filed actions against Reynolds that challenged the company's marketing tactic. That action arose from a marketing campaign that promoted Camel cigarettes to young adults by supporting indie rock and independent record label bands and their music.

"Maryland's settlement with Reynolds is one of several efforts by many States, including parallel litigation brought by the Attorneys General of California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Washington, to monitor and enforce the life-saving concessions we won in the 1998 MSA," Gansler said. "Big Tobacco requires big enforcement by the States."

Maryland is the only state to date to have reached a settlement resulting in the termination of Reynolds' Camel Farm marketing campaign.

R.J. Reynolds will, under terms of the settlement, terminate the Camel Farm program and refrain from ever distributing any of the marketing materials created in connection with the campaign again.

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