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Health Groups Slam Tobacco Marketing to Women
Date:2/18/2009

Attempts to make smoking more feminine, fashionable should be curbed, they say

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 18 (HealthDay News) -- New tobacco company marketing campaigns that target women and girls are the most aggressive in more than a decade, a new report concludes.

That marketing needs to be curbed by giving the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authority over tobacco products, according to the report, released Wednesday by a coalition of major U.S. public health organizations.

Campaigns launched in recent years by the nation's two largest tobacco companies -- Philip Morris USA and R.J. Reynolds -- depict cigarette smoking as feminine and fashionable rather than the harmful and deadly addiction it really is, according to Deadly in Pink: Big Tobacco Steps Up Its Targeting of Women and Girls. The report was issued by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, American Lung Association and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Late last year, for example, Philip Morris USA announced it would sell its Virginia Slims brand in "purse packs" -- small, rectangular cigarette packs that are half the size of regular cigarette packs. The packs resemble cosmetics cases and come in mauve and teal.

And in early 2007, R.J. Reynolds introduced a new version of its Camel cigarettes, called Camel No. 9. The name evokes famous Chanel perfumes, and the cigarettes are packaged in shiny black boxes with hot pink and teal borders. Magazine ads for the cigarettes featured flowery imagery, vintage fashion and promotional giveaways that included lip balm, cell phone jewelry, tiny purses and wristbands, all in hot pink.

"These new marketing campaigns by Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds show contempt for the health of women and girls," Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said in a news release. "The tobacco industry's aggressive mark
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