Remember Joe Camel? That “cool” mascot proved troublesome for Camel cigarettes, as all tobacco companies all eventually were barred from targeting kids in their marketing campaign. And now Camel is in hot water (smoke?) again, as a number of health groups are claiming that its new ad campaign for Camel Crush menthol cigarettes is aimed at young people.
The American Heart Association, American Lung Association and several others are asking at least two state attorneys to look into the campaign, which ran in 24 magazines including popular titles like Sports Illustrated and People, reports the Associated Press.
The ads are pushing the Camel Crush brand, which uses a small capsule in the cigarettes that when smushed, releases menthol flavor.
According to the health groups, the ads could violate Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement which, in part, prohibits cigarette companies from trying to get kids to buy their products. And while print ads are totally legal here in the U.S., they’re banned from the radio, television and billboards.
Menthol cigarettes are already a target for opponents of the tobacco industry, as critics say kids are wooed by the flavor that masks the icky taste of tobacco smoke.
Health groups protest new Camel magazine ads [Associated Press]