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NEW YORK -- New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has stopped Brown & Williamson from running its Kool Mixx ads, claiming they targeted children, specifically African-American youths, reported the New York Daily News.
Supreme Court Judge Charles Ramos issued a restraining order forcing Brown & Williamson to recall from gas stations, drugstores and convenience stores throughout the state some 20,000 Kool Mixx packs featuring deejays and party scenes. Ramos also barred distribution of Kool Mixx CD-ROMs, bags, radios and lighters. Ramos's decision also requires the firm to shut down its "House of Menthol" Web site and toll-free number.
"Today's decision makes clear that the court will take appropriate steps to prevent tobacco companies targeting youth in their marketing campaigns," Spitzer said in a statement.
The tobacco company had distributed interactive CDs in Spin, Vibe, Rolling Stone and Entertainment Weekly, Spitzer said, noting the use of hip-hop music and images were an attempt to market to children. Attorneys general in several other states, including Maine and Maryland, have also written to the tobacco firm to ask them to end the Kool Mixx promotion.
A Brown & Williamson spokesman called Ramos's ruling a "split decision: We get to continue to do our tournament, but the judge wants us to stop our promotions and advertising."
The spokesman said the ad campaign was an attempt to market to adult customers. "We don't market to kids," he said. "We produce a product that's controversial. They argued that we went a little overboard on the promotion of these events." The spokesman said the firm's "adult consumers do like hip-hop."
Spitzer wanted the court to fine Brown & Williamson $15 million for targeting its cigarette marketing to youth. The judge has yet to rule on that request.