Camel crush cigarettes favored by teen smokers, increasing market share by over 20 percent

Which tobacco brand is increasing its cigarette sales among youngsters?

Camel gained over 20 percent more market share among 12 17 year olds and over 60 percent among 18 25 year olds in 2010, the most recent year analyzed, according to Citi’s decade long brand specific study of youth smoker trends. Newport also bumped up its share over 10 percent among the first group and nearly 30 percent among the latter, while Marlboro remains the most popular brand among young people. (h/t Business Insider)

While overall cigarette use declined among teens, it is believed that Camel gained market share due to their Camel Crush, a cigarette that releases menthol flavoring through its filter when pinched.

The Food and Drug Administration advised a ban on menthol cigarettes in March precisely because of their popularity among underage consumers. FDA advisors also reported last year about the increasing sales of menthol brands among youngsters, especially minorities. More than four in every five black teen smokers and over half of Hispanic teens smokers reportedly used menthol cigarettes.

Tobacco companies have been accused of targeting youth in the past. For example, Camel No. 9 cigarettes, evoking women’s fragrance brands like Chanel No. 9, were all the rage among girls between the ages of 12 and 16, according to a study published in Pediatrics in 2010. Camel gave free items such as berry flavored lip balm and purses with the product when it first came out in 2007, USA Today reported in 2010.

The government has undertaken a new advertising effort to decrease the national smoking rate by using explicit graphics of tobacco’s devastating health consequences. Cigarette companies have appealed the government’s right to place these ads on their packaging claiming that the anti smoking efforts are going too far.

Leading health groups urge state ags to investigate r.j. reynolds’ new magazine ads for camel cigare – campaign for tobacco free kids

Leading Health Groups Urge State AGs to Investigate R.J. Reynolds New Magazine Ads for Camel Cigarettes

May. 30 2013

WASHINGTON, DC Five leading public health organizations are calling on state attorneys general to investigate whether R.J. Reynolds new magazine advertising campaign for Camel cigarettes violates the state tobacco settlement s prohibition on targeting youth.

The ads, for Camel Crush cigarettes, have appeared in the April, May or June issues of at least 24 magazines, including several with large teen readerships. This is the first time R.J. Reynolds has advertised a cigarette brand in magazines since December 2007, when the company suspended its magazine advertising while facing public and Congressional scrutiny and lawsuits by nine states for engaging in marketing that targeted kids.

The health groups are urging the state attorneys general to investigate whether the ad campaign violates a provision of the 1998 settlement that prohibits tobacco companies from taking “any action, directly or indirectly, to target Youth within any Settling State in the advertising, promotion or marketing of Tobacco Products.”

“We believe that R.J. Reynolds new ad campaign does directly or indirectly target youth because the entire ad buy is reaching millions of youth and several of the individual magazines have large youth readerships,” the health groups stated in a letter to the Tobacco Committee Co Chairs of the National Association of Attorneys General.

The groups involved are the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, Legacy, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association and American Lung Association.

Publicly available data from GfK MRI, a consumer research firm, shows a total teen readership (12 17 years old) of 12.9 million for just nine of the magazines involved Entertainment Weekly, ESPN the Magazine, Sports Illustrated, Rolling Stone, People, Glamour, InStyle, US Weekly and Vogue. The total teen readership for all 24 magazines would be millions more.

Several of these magazines individually have large teen readerships, including People with nearly 3.2 million teen readers, ESPN the Magazine with more than 2 million teen readers, and Sports Illustrated with more than 1.7 million teen readers.

The health groups letter points out that R.J. Reynolds has a long history of being investigated and legally sanctioned for targeting kids with marketing for Camel cigarettes

  • From 1987 to 1997, R.J. Reynolds marketed Camel cigarettes with a cartoon character, Joe Camel, including through magazine ads. Studies showed that Camel s share of the youth cigarette market soared after the campaign began, and Joe Camel at one point was nearly as recognizable to 6 year olds as Mickey Mouse. R.J. Reynolds finally ended the Joe Camel campaign in 1997 in the face of lawsuits, Congressional scrutiny, a Federal Trade Commission investigation and public outrage.

  • In 2001, the State of California sued R.J. Reynolds, alleging that the company s placement of cigarette ads in magazines with large numbers of teen readers violated the settlement s prohibition on targeting youth. In 2002, a California judge found R.J. Reynolds liable, a ruling upheld by a California Court of Appeal. Under a 2004 settlement of the case, R.J. Reynolds agreed to restrictions on its advertising in magazines with large teen readerships and paid $17.25 million in civil penalties and costs.

  • In 2007, R.J. Reynolds faced criticism from public health and women s organizations, members of Congress and newspaper editorials after it introduced Camel No. 9 cigarettes targeted to teenage girls and young women. U.S. Rep. Lois Capps (D CA) called Camel No. 9 “the pink version of Joe Camel.”

  • In November 2007, R.J. Reynolds again faced criticism for a large Camel ad in Rolling Stone that was wrapped around a cartoon insert. Nine states sued the company, alleging that it violated the MSA s prohibition on the use of cartoons in tobacco advertising.

Amidst controversy over the Camel No. 9 and Rolling Stone ads, R.J. Reynolds in late 2007 announced that it would suspend its cigarette advertising in magazines.

Camel is one of the three most popular cigarette brands among youth smokers, with 15.1 percent preferring Camel, according to the 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Camel Crush is an extension of the brand with a capsule in the filter that releases menthol when crushed.

“R.J. Reynolds cannot be allowed to get away with yet another marketing campaign that entices America s kids into a deadly addiction,” the health groups letter states.