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June 2, 2010 - The Ohio Supreme Court has rejected the state's argument that a cigarette company's spread in Rolling Stone magazine violated a tobacco industry settlement. The court ruled 4-2 Wednesday, May 26th without comment to decline Attorney General Richard Cordray's appeal of a lower court ruling that sided with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. - See Background Below..
At issue was a multi-page Camel ad in Rolling Stone that ran alongside a 2007 feature story illustrated with drawings. Ohio said the ad placement amounted to using cartoons to sell cigarettes, violating a promise in the industry's 1998 settlement with multiple states.
Ruling for Reynolds earlier this year, an appeals court in Columbus said the company had no say in the drawings and other content Rolling Stone ran next to the ad.
Background: Attorneys general from 8 states have filed a motion against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. (RJR) alleging that RJR is illegally marketing cigarettes to youth through a current advertising campaign violating the 1998 Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (MSA). That agreement, which the tobacco industry signed to end the national tobacco litigation, expressly prohibits the use of cartoons to advertise or promote cigarettes.Reference: Ohio high court nixes state appeal over smoking ad
At least eight states – Maine, Ohio, California, Illinois, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Washington – sued the Winston-Salem, N.C.-based company after the fold-out advertisement appeared in one of (November 15, 2007) Rolling Stone’s special 40th anniversary issues.
On Monday, July 13th the Washington state Court of Appeals overturned a lower court’s finding that content Reynolds produced for the 2007 Rolling Stone advertisement did not include cartoons. Though the photographic images weren’t Disney-style illustrations, the appeals court said they were cartoonishly arranged in a bucolic collage. The theme of the “Camel Farm” ad campaign was that Reynolds was helping to support – grow – independent music.
The Maine and Ohio judges sided with the company and California came back with a split decision. In May, a Pennsylvania judge became the first to hold Reynolds liable, ordering the company to pay $302,000 or run a full-page anti-smoking ad in Rolling Stone. Reynolds vowed to appeal.
Washington State - R.J. Reynolds found guilty of violating ban on cartoons..
High court in Ohio denies state's appeal over cigarette ad in '07 issue of Rolling Stone, Associated Press, 5/26/2010.
Directly related news briefs:
Connecticut - settlement with R.J. Reynolds cartoon cigarette ads..;
Washington State - R.J. Reynolds found guilty of violating ban on cartoons..;
Pennsylvania - Judge rules Camel Ads Violated Ban On Cartoons..;
RJR drops print ads...