Up in Smoke: Tobacco Advertising

In 1998, Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company was one of many that agreed to a settlement, essentially removing its creative marketing arm.

The idea was to stop companies from distributing promotional materials often aimed at kids.

But Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said Santa Fe has been violating that agreement.

At issue - tin signs the company has been giving out featuring its "Natural American Spirit" cigarette brand.

“These promotional signs are both a symbol and a symptom of slick pitches that show the tobacco industry unrepentant, still relying on marketing tactics to sell death and addiction,” Blumenthal said. “This legal action demonstrates our undiminished determination to fight tobacco -- hopefully now a battle joined by a new president committed to public health.”

As a result, Connecticut is one of 41 states to reach a settlement with the company.

Santa Fe will stop handing out the signs and has also agreed to pay a $250 fine for each future violation.

The 1998 settlement prohibits tobacco companies from dispensing certain types of promotional materials, including decorative signs.

Since that agreement was signed, Americans have smoked more than 100 billion fewer cigarettes, according on data from the American Lung Association.

Under the agreement, which was announced Wednesday, Santa Fe Natural Tobacco has agreed not to hand out such signs or other promotional materials including: toys, games, fashion accessories, CDs, DVDS, video games, clothing, athletic equipment, outdoor gear, luggage, stationery items, housewares and paintings and plaques intended for the home.

"This historic agreement bans slick signs and other pernicious promotions intended to make cigarettes seem cool," he said.  "These merchants of death and disease depend on marketing to hook a new generation, enticing children and young adults with hip merchandise. Blocking distribution of signs, CDs, DVDS, clothing and other items hyping cigarettes is vital to reducing the appeal and incidence of smoking, especially among youth.”

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