R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. has agreed to a domestic ban on its line of flavored cigarettes such as Twista Lime and Mocha Taboo, which critics say are marketed to youths.
The tobacco giant, a unit of Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Reynolds American Inc., settled a broad investigation of its domestic sales and marketing without paying any penalty. The company agreed to stop giving cigarettes names that allude to candy, fruit, desserts or alcoholic beverages, according to New York Atty. Gen. Eliot Spitzer.
Last year, a national survey by the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, N.Y., found that 20% of smokers ages 17 to 19 said they used flavored cigarettes in the last 30 days and that just 6% of smokers over age 25 did, said Dr. Gary Giovino, a senior researcher at the institute.
The deal struck with California and 39 other states, however, exempts the company's experimental "smoking lounge" in Chicago, allowing it to sell premium flavored cigarettes but with packaging that doesn't evoke images of fruit or sweet foods and drink. The deal allows R.J. Reynolds to offer lines of flavored cigarettes in the future under revised packaging, the company and state officials said Wednesday.
Marshall McGearty's, the R.J. Reynolds-owned lounge, is exempt from local smoking laws. The states contend that the one exception doesn't extend to similar businesses, but R.J. Reynolds spokesman Frederick McConnell disagrees.
"We can still sell flavored cigarettes in the future," he said.