Pennsylvania - Judge rules Camel Ads Violated Ban On Cartoons..

May 14, 2009 - Harrisburg, PA - Camel ads coupled with illustrations promoting rock music in Rolling Stone magazine in 2007 violated the tobacco industry's decade-old promise not to use cartoon s to sell cigarettes a Philadelphia judge ruled Wednesday, May 13th.

The decision by Judge William J. Manfredi said R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. violated its pledge not to pitch cigarettes to children because the Rolling Stone-produced and placed illustrations were cartoons and the cigarette maker should have avoided their placement next to a Camel ad. Judge Manfredi ordered Reynolds to pay $302,000 or run a full-page anti-smoking ad in a Rolling Stone edition that circulates in Pennsylvania.

A 1998 master settlement agreement between 46 states and the tobacco industry includes a provision against using cartoons in advertisements to prevent the industry from appealing to minors.

Attorneys general in at least nine states sued over the ad in Rolling Stone's November 2007 edition. The nine-page advertising section combined pages of Camel cigarette ads with pages of magazine-produced illustrations on the theme of independent rock music.

A spokesman for the Pennsylvania attorney general's office said the decision is a full victory. An R.J. Reynolds spokesman said the Winston-Salem, N.C., company will appeal.

After the magazine came out, Reynolds contended that the Camel ads themselves contained no cartoons and that the company didn't know the magazine's pages would be illustrations, as opposed to text.

R.J. Reynolds' defense has proved more successful in other states. Judges in Maine and Washington ruled in favor of the tobacco company. A California judge found that R.J. Reynolds violated the Master Settlement Agreement but was not responsible for the ad placement, while an Ohio judge found the opposite, R.J. Reynolds spokesman David Howard said. Neither judge ordered damages, but the company is appealing both decisions, Mr. Howard said. Suits in Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland and New York are pending.

References: Camel Ads Violated Ban On Cartoons, Judge Says, The Wall Street Journal - Associated Press, 5/14/2009; Pa. judge says Camel ad violated tobacco's pledge by MARC LEVY, The Associated Press, 5/13/2009; R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. Sanctioned for Ad in Rolling Stone, Amaris Elliott-Engel
The Legal Intelligencer, 5/14/2009.

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