R.J. Reynolds to discontinue drinking promotion after complaints | VailDaily.com

R.J. Reynolds to discontinue drinking promotion after complaints

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – A cigarette promotion that used coasters encouraging heavy drinking has been discontinued after three states appealed to the tobacco company to stop it.R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. said in a letter Wednesday that it would stop a promotion for Camel cigarettes in which over-21 customers were sent coasters on their birthdays. The coasters included drink recipes and phrases such as “Layer It On, Go ‘Til Daybreak.”The attorneys general of California, Maryland and New York filed a complaint with the company last month, calling the coaster promotion irresponsible. They cited research showing that people are more likely to smoke when drinking, and that smokers who regularly drink are almost twice as likely to suffer genetic mutations associated with lung cancer than those who do not.In a two-sentence letter to Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Wednesday, a lawyer for RJR said the coaster mailings would stop.”Upon careful consideration, the beverage coaster program has been terminated,” RJR lawyer James H. Beckett wrote. Calls to Beckett were referred to an RJR spokeswoman who did not immediately return a call for comment.R.J. Reynolds, a subsidiary of Reynolds American Inc., is the nation’s second-largest tobacco company, based in Winston-Salem, N.C.”We’re pleased they’re doing the right thing” by stopping the promotion, Curran said. “Excessive drinking as recommended by these coasters – particularly with these slogans – it just sends the wrongest possible message when those of us in law enforcement are doing everything we can to discourage excessive drinking.”Curran’s complaint came after a Maryland college student received a box from R.J. Reynolds on his 22nd birthday containing six coasters, each featuring a recipe for a different mixed drink. A coaster with the recipe for a drink called “Blue in the Face” included the message, “If You Turn Green, You’re Doing It Wrong,” the letter said. A recipe for a drink called “After Dark” included the message, “Layer It On, Go ‘Til Daybreak.”The student’s parents passed on the promotion to state authorities.”This promotion constituted irresponsible corporate conduct and took a cavalier attitude toward the public health dangers posed by irresponsible drinking,” said Tom Dresslar, spokesman for California Attorney General Bill Lockyer.RJR’s letter said no more promotional coasters would be sent.—On the Net:R.J. Reynolds: http://www.rjrt.com/home.aspCalifornia Office of the Attorney General: http://caag.state.ca.us/New York Attorney General: http://www.oag.state.ny.us/Maryland Attorney General: http://www.oag.state.md.uVail, Colorado

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