Friday, January 21, 2011

A new Camel pack featuring Vegas

LAS VEGAS - Limited edition boxes of Camel cigarettes will soon arrive in stores across the country. The boxes feature nine popular destinations and the famous Route 66. It is part of Camel's "Break Free Adventure" marketing campaign. Las Vegas made the cut.

The campaign is sparking controversy.

"The fact that they're designing a cigarette pack around our wonderful city just really shows what lengths the tobacco industry will go to to market their product and hook more people," said Southern Nevada Health District Tobacco Control Coordinator Maria Azzarelli.

Others disagree with the health district and welcome the publicity. "I want that pack," one Las Vegas resident said. "Cigarette smoking is bad. I smoke. It's bad, but if it's going to help the different cities' economy, why not?"

The special-edition pack that features Las Vegas reads, "Vegas baby, the keeper of oh so many good times. Camel honors the oasis in the desert--built entirely for people of all walks to break free."

Critics say R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company markets Camel cigarettes as cool, fun, and rebellious in an effort to appeal to kids.

"What they're trying to do is associate Camel cigarettes with some of the most trendy and popular U.S. cities, places like Las Vegas, Seattle, Austin, San Francisco," said Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids Vice President of Communications Vince Willmore. "We think it is really appalling that R.J. Reynolds is using the good name and images of these cities to market a deadly and addictive product."

"We certainly agree that youth should not use tobacco products, and that's a guiding principle and belief at R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company," said R.J. Reynolds Spokesman David Howard. "We market our products only to adults who are aware of the risks of tobacco use and have made the informed decision to use tobacco."

Officials in San Francisco and New York have already called on R.J. Reynolds to pull the campaign. The packs are scheduled to hit stores next month and are scheduled for sale through January0

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