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Letter to the editor: What happened to the settlement?

By Pete Yakovich


I am sickened by RJ American, the maker of Camel cigarettes, once again with their release of "Camel Orbs," tobacco in a mint form, even with mint flavor. With more social awareness and a decrease in tobacco use in Utah by almost 30 percent in the past 10 years the average consumer view of tobacco products have gone down hill. But once again RJ American is setting out to market their product to the up and coming generation.

I'm not sure about you but the last I knew there was something called the master settlement agreement, in which the nation's top four tobacco companies agreed towards several issues, from paying for certain lawsuits of cancer patients to unethical marketing practices. One of these practices was the targeting of America's youth, to which they agreed to neither directly or indirectly market tobacco products to minors.

The Columbus Dispatch discusses "Camel Orbs" in an article published on Sept. 25, 2009 entitled "Tobacco mints a lot like candy?" Columbus was selected as one of the test market areas for the new product, along with several other RJ American products such as "Camel Strips", a strip like form of tobacco resembling Listerine strips and "Camel Sticks" which resemble flavored toothpicks.

"The FDA began warning parents this week that flavored tobacco products are 'especially appealing to kids and can lead to a lifetime of tobacco addiction'," states the Columbus Dispatch.

These products clearly violate the master settlement agreement, and if marketed nationally will increase the use of tobacco products by minors. It's hard enough to curb teen chewing and smoking, but with the possible national release of tobacco mints and candies youth tobacco consumption will increase.

Citizens need to peak out by calling or e-mailing our representatives. You can bet that if these products are launched in a nation wide campaign they'll be right into the pockets of our youth. Big tobacco wants America's youth, they want a new generation of tobacco users and to make tobacco's image seem cool and good again.

Tobacco isn't cool, it is not good, and neither is cancer. So why should we let our society throw more products aimed to addict us into the market?

Contact local government and your representatives. Whether it is in Columbus, Ohio or in Price, violations of the master settlement agreement should be investigated, stopped, and should not be tolerated.

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