States To Sue Over Tobacco Giant

Over 24 states in America aim to sue tobacco giant Brown & Williamson over a marketing campaign that leaned heavily on Hip-Hop to market cigarettes and allegedly targeted youth under the legal smoking age of 18.New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer sent a letter to Brown & Williamson revealing that the states intended to sue over the campaign.In March, Maine Attorney General Steven Rowe also sent Brown & Williamson a letter informing the company of violations surrounding the marketing campaign.Rowe is in charge of enforcing a 1998 $206 billion dollar settlement the tobacco companies were ordered to pay.Rowe's letter ordered Brown & Williamson to stop using rappers, DJ's and dancers to market their Kool brand of cigarettes, which he felt targeted African-American youth.Brown & Williamson complied and wrote Rowe, stating that they had ceased the marketing campaign.Under the Kool brand, Brown and Williamson held emcee battles and DJ competitions across the country, boasting in press a release that the contest was the "largest and most prestigious DJ competition anywhere."A spokesman for Brown and Williamson denied that Kool targeted youth, saying they were targeting potential smokers over the age of 21.As part of the campaign, Brown and Williamson gave away CD-ROM's and advertised the DJ competition in magazines.Under the 1998 settlement terms, tobacco companies are barred from distributing non-tobacco merchandise with cigarette brand names."Kool keeps it real and remains linked to the latest urban trends," said Ludo Cremens, Brown and Williams Divisional Vice President of Brand Marketing.The states have one month to notify the tobacco companies if they intend to sue.Spitzer's letter was sent on Friday, May 7th.