The Congress members, led by Rep. Lois Capps (D., Calif.), wrote to major magazine editors earlier this week asking them to stop accepting such advertising, pointing particularly to the Camel No. 9 ads from R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., "which are clearly targeted at enticing young women to smoke." Women's titles including Elle, Vogue, Glamour, In Style, Lucky, Marie Claire, W and Cosmopolitan received the letter, which contained a plea to stop running the hot pink Camel ad that calls its cigarettes "light & luscious." Emily Kryder, press secretary for Capps, said they are targeting women's magazines in part because the colorful ad, which she described as a possible take on Chanel No. 5, is clearly a ploy at reaching out to a much younger customer.
"Pulling the ad is the right thing to do," she said.
But Kryder noted that if "after a reasonable amount of time," Congress does not hear from these publications and action is not taken, it might press for legislative action or a hearing.
Spokeswomen at Glamour, W and Lucky said their respective editors plan to respond to Congress, although no details were provided. At In Style, a spokeswoman said the letter is being reviewed and added its July issue will carry no tobacco ads. Over at Hearst, a spokeswoman said it has received the letters, but its policy will remain the same regarding cigarette ads. "The decision is left up to the discretion of our individual publishers," she explained. Representatives of Elle and Vogue declined to comment.
A spokesman at R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. said the ads are only running in magazines with 85 percent or more of their readers over the age of 18. This is 10 percent more than Federal Trade Commission requirements. He added the marketing is not a play off of Chanel No. 5 and was created in response to female smokers who asked for this type of cigarette to be produced from Camel. Moreover, he said the "light & luscious" tagline refers to the "blend and taste of the product." The spokesman wasn't sure whether the company is planning a counter response to Congress. — Amy Wicks