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RJR Nabisco Opposes Proposed Ad Bill

April 02, 1998|Associated Press

RJR Nabisco executives are fuming about a congressional bid to prohibit cigarette companies from using animals in their advertising. The bill introduced by Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John McCain would force RJR Nabisco to do away with Old Joe, the Camel dromedary used on Camel cigarette packs since 1913. RJR Nabisco earlier had agreed to do away with Joe Camel, the cartoon character used in recent years to pitch cigarettes. But a company spokeswoman said RJR Nabisco would "not sign away its 1st Amendment rights with the McCain bill." Industry executives hinted that they would not sign the voluntary ban on cartoon characters if Congress passes McCain's bill. Absent that signing, the industry would be free to bring back cartoon characters that critics say draw young children to smoking.

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