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Post date: June 17 2004

Spitzer Applauds Court Decision Restricting Kool Cigarette Advertising Campaign

Attorney General Spitzer applauded today's court decision severely limiting Brown & Williamson's "Kool MIXX" advertising campaign targeting children in New York.

"Today's decision makes clear that the court will take appropriate steps to prevent tobacco companies targeting youth in their marketing campaigns," Spitzer said. "Although this is a preliminary order, the evidence presented in our lawsuit amply demonstrates that B&W has committed hundreds of violations of the Master Settlement Agreement signed by the company in 1998."

At the request of Spitzer's office, New York State Supreme Court Justice Charles E. Ramos issued a restraining order that:

  • Prohibits the distribution of Kool MIXX brand name merchandise such as CD-ROMs, bags, radios and lighters;
  • Requires B&W to shut down its "House of Menthol" website and toll-free telephone number;
  • Prohibits the live webcast of a DJ competition to be held in Chicago in July;
  • Severely limit advertising for planned DJ competitions to be held in New York City during the next four weeks; and
  • Requires Brown and Williamson to recall all special edition Kool MIXX cigarette packs in New York. More than 79,000 cartons of the special edition thematic packs of cigarettes have been distributed nationwide, with nearly 25% of the cartons sent to numerous New York locations such as convenience stores, drug stores, gas stations and other retail stores

Attorney General Spitzer filed a motion on Tuesday, seeking to stop B&W's "Kool MIXX" campaign, which is focused on hip-hop music and culture, including DJ competitions, interactive CD-ROMs, and special collectible bags, radios, lighters and cigarette packs. Copies of the CDs were distributed free in Spin, Vibe, and Rolling Stone all of which have high youth readership, and B&W has set up a special "House of Menthol" internet website.

Justice Ramos is allowing B&W to hold its planned DJ competitions, because they take place in "adult-only" facilities. However, B&W's advertising for those events will be limited to the type of advertising that it has used in prior years, rather than using the hip hop images that have been appearing in magazines and newspapers this year.

The case is being handled by Assistant Attorneys General Christine Morrison and Joy Feigenbaum of the Consumer Frauds Bureau, under the direction of Bureau Chief Thomas Conway.