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No Love for No. 9

The Ventura County Star is reporting that their local congresswoman is taking aim at women's mags. Capp's wrote an editorial on Friday, denouncing a number of women's magazines with young female readership for carrying ads (pictured here) for Camel No. 9, or more specifically, for ignoring her letter signed by 42 members of congress imploring them not to run the ads. But should we share her disappointment? Do women's mags like Vogue and Allure and Cosmo Girlreally "set trends for the country, and have [they] historically served as respected sources for articles on women's health and fitness"? Shockingly, she noted that "all of these publications seem to care more about their bottom lines than the health of their readers."

New Camel cigarette pack

In response to two letters Capps sent to the publishers of 11 leading women's magazines (one in June and a follow-up in August) asking them to voluntarily stop accepting advertising for Camel No. 9, seven eventually wrote back. "None of them promised to drop the ads," notes the Star.

In his response, Vogue publishing director Thomas A. Florio lectured that Congress should focus on creating guidelines for the marketing, distribution and sale of tobacco products rather than trying to 'bring pressure' on a magazine to 'forgo its legal right to conduct business.'

'Any other pressure or coercion to alter the legal right of any citizen or company doing business in America is at odds with the basic fabric of our country's value system,' Florio wrote.

Camel's new, feminine cancer sticks are re-imagined for a female consumer (the box is pink!). Camel realized its brand was woefully skewed towards the male sex, so it created No. 9 to “focus on products that are ‘wow,’ ” Cressida Lozano, vice president for marketing of the Camel brand told the New York Times [link requires free registration]. Lozano noted that No. 9 adds “fun and excitement to the category. What we’re about is giving adult smokers a choice,” Ms. Lozano said, “with products we believe are more appealing than existing products.”

Stay-at-home-mom Angela Rewis, 26, approved of the new choices offered to her.  "They're a sweeter taste, and they don't stink like regular cigarettes. And I like the pack," she told NPR.  "It's more for females, instead of carrying around a nasty, ugly pack."

TheAssociated Press outlined the two main arguments in May. While cigarettes are deadly,they're also legal, and publications with a readership of teen girls have the legal right to accept advertising from them.  “I'm totally anti-smoking,but a marketer's job is to market and a customer's job is to decide what to buy,”  Marian Salzman, executive vice president at the J. Walter Thompsonad agency told the AP. “If the message breaks through, then the marketer has done a good job.”

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