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December 04, 2007
Tobacco Co-Chair McKenna seeks order against RJR for Rolling Stone cartoon ads

OLYMPIA… Washington will join several other states in filing suit against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company for violating a national ban on the use of cartoons in tobacco advertising, Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna announced today.

The Attorney General’s Office today filed a motion in King County Superior Court, seeking an order prohibiting further use of cartoons in advertising and requiring the payment of monetary sanctions of more than $3.5 million, among other requested relief. 

Attorneys General from California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania filed similar proceedings in their states today.

The motion is in response to a nine-page “special advertising section” in the Nov. 17 issue of Rolling Stone Magazine, featuring a series of cartoons and marketing CAMEL cigarettes.

“Washington was a leader in negotiating the 1998 national tobacco settlement, which includes an outright ban against the use of any cartoon in tobacco advertising, to prevent the marketing of tobacco to youth,” McKenna said. “This advertising spread is a blatant violation and R.J. Reynolds must be held accountable for it.”

The 1998 tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) prohibition on the use of cartoons to market cigarettes states, “no participating manufacturer may use or cause to be used any cartoon in the advertising, promoting, packaging or labeling of tobacco products.” 

“Studies over the years have shown the dangerous impact of cartoons on youth’s perceptions about smoking,” McKenna said. “That’s why the ban on cartoons in tobacco advertising is crucial in the fight to prevent teen smoking.” 

In October, McKenna welcomed the Tobacco Triennial Conference to Seattle to evaluate the success of the MSA and to coordinate efforts by the attorneys general and participating tobacco manufacturers to curb youth smoking.


Contact: Janelle Guthrie, AG Communications Director, (360) 586-0725


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