R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. agreed Wednesday to pay a $11.4-million penalty and curb its ads in magazines with large teen audiences to settle a state lawsuit over its advertising practices, state Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer said.
"This settlement is an important victory in the ongoing effort to end tobacco advertising that targets our children and helps them get hooked on a deadly product," Lockyer said. "R.J. Reynolds has finally agreed to adopt serious, effective limits for advertising in magazines that have disproportionately large numbers of young readers."
The complaint, filed in March 2001, alleged that R.J. Reynolds' cigarette ads in magazines such as Hot Rod, Spin and Rolling Stone violated a landmark 1998 settlement between cigarette makers and the states that banned the marketing of tobacco products to youths. Although R.J. Reynolds' major competitors had taken steps to reduce teens' exposure to their ads, Reynolds had not, the complaint alleged.
Reynolds, the nation's second-largest cigarette maker, had argued that it was targeting ages 21 and older and couldn't stop younger readers from being exposed to the advertisements.