MSA Violation or Just Another Loophole?
EDITORIAL: R.J. Reynolds' Offensive Act
Arizona Daily Star
Dec 10, 1999
State Attorney General Janet Napolitano was probably as
shocked as the rest of us to learn that R.J. Reynolds was
mailing free cigarettes to residents of the state.
Why the sleaze coming from Big Tobacco still has the ability
to surprise is a mystery. But this obscene gesture offended on
two fronts. It not only reached vulnerable populations, it could
torpedo the state's agreement with the company - a legal
settlement worth $3.1 billion over the next 25 years.
Napolitano is responding with proper indignation to an act that
she rightly believes targets children. News accounts told the
story of children who played with the cigarettes after retrieving
the mail. Other recipients included former smokers who quit
because their health demanded it.
And Napolitano had the same thought as the rest of us when
she read the literature accompanying the cigarettes. Two and
four packs of cigarettes were introduced with a survey that
suggested recipients "smoke enough of the cigarettes to form
Napolitano said the cigarette company probably meant
"to form an addiction."
R.J. Reynolds' defense is that it mailed only to people who
signed requests from the company. But one of the complainers
said he never signed such a request. We're with Napolitano
on this one. She says that at the very least, the mailings violate
the spirit of the agreement.
For those who don't remember, one of the agreement's
provisions limits free samples to adults-only facilities or
consumer tests with people who certify they are adults.
Napolitano is threatening to take the matter to court to stop the
company from distributing free cigarettes. We couldn't agree
with her more.