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Big Tobacco’s Cross-border Pollution

September 24, 2013


Restrictions in Canada keep glamorous tobacco ads out of magazines. But that doesn’t keep them from coming in from the U.S.

Health advocates in Canada are outraged that glossy, full-page ads for Camel cigarettes have made their way to Canadian youths’ backpacks and bed stands inside recent issues of several American magazines – including Sports Illustrated, People, Glamour, and Entertainment Weekly, among others.

“I think what's disconcerting about the appeal to youth here is saying about the embracing what's now, basically looking for instant gratification and not worrying about what the consequences might be from smoking,” said Timothy Dewhirst, a marketing professor at the University of Guelph who was interviewed by Canadian outlet CBC News.

Prior to April of this year, R.J. Reynolds had not advertised Camel cigarettes in magazines since 2007, when it suspended its magazine advertising while facing scrutiny and lawsuits for engaging in marketing that targeted kids. But since this spring, ads for Camel cigarettes have appeared in dozens of magazines, including many with high youth readership.

A huge, three-page spread of ads for Camel cigarettes appeared in the August issue of Glamour, which featured popular boy band One Direction on the cover.

In May, we and several of our partners called on state attorneys general to investigate whether this new rash of ads violates the state tobacco settlement’s prohibition on targeting youth.

Watch the Canadian news coverage of the Camel ads: