Kool Promo Criticized for Appealing to Youth

A promotional campaign by Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp.’s Kool cigarette brand, which offers a free radio with a two-pack purchase, is being criticized for targeting youth, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported June 16.

The “Kool Mixx” package features hip-hop and rap music images. “The hip-hop, the posing — that is geared toward young people,” said King Salim Khalfani, executive director of the Virginia State Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

After numerous complaints from several states and a national anti-smoking group, Brown & Williamson agreed to remove the Kool Mixx packages from store shelves.

“It is our understanding Brown & Williamson agreed to stop the objectionable marketing practices well in advance of the complaint letters from the states,” said Tim Murtaugh, spokesman for Virginia Attorney General Jerry Kilgore. “We reserve the right, if they do not satisfy their agreement, to pursue civil action.”

The company denies that the promotion violates the 1998 nationwide tobacco settlement with U.S. states, which bans marketing cigarettes to minors.