No More Hip-Hop Cigarettes
By Sam Bakken in News on Oct 7, 2004 6:06PM
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced yesterday that Illinois will receive $500,000 of a $1.46 million settlement with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. from suits filed by Illinois, New York and Maryland. The money will go toward youth smoking prevention programs.
R.J. Reynolds Tobacco aquired Brown & Williamson Tobacco Co. in July and the suits alleged that Brown & Williamson violated the 1998 tobacco Master Settlement Agreement, with their "Kool Mixx" advertising campaign for Kool cigarettes, by targeting black youth. The campaign included hip-hop shows, promotional toys, D.J. battles, graffiti images on packaging and a promotional CD-ROM with rap artist interviews and a scratch and mix music program.
Among other things, part of the settlement limits distribution of the CD-ROMS to adult-only facilities and prohibits cigarette packs with multipack mural designs or cartoon-like characters (aren't all rappers cartoon-like characters?).
However, there's no restriction on the Kool cigarette flavors that include Mintrigue (now that's an emcee name) Caribbean Chill, Midnight Berry and Mocha Taboo (another good handle). Many critics say these sugary labels should be prohibited as well because they also target kids. Shit, we better rethink our plans to release Marshmallow My Little Pony cigarettes.
In the coming weeks and months we'll see how much of an impact the settlement's restrictions will have on the relationship between hip-hop and mentholated cigarettes. We suspect it could affect the genre's fuh-fuh-fuh fuh-fuh-fuh fresh(ness).