Wednesday, August 4, 2004

Lingle urges end
to Kauai Kolada

Gov. Linda Lingle is asking tobacco giant R.J. Reynolds to halt its "Kauai Kolada" cigarette marketing campaign, saying it sullies Hawaii's reputation as a "place of purity, health and healing."

In a letter yesterday, Lingle asks Andrew J. Schindler, president and chief executive officer of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Holdings Inc., to "immediately stop" the ad campaign for the blend of Camel cigarettes, which uses the Kauai name and a hula girl to promote a new pineapple and coconut flavored cigarette.

"The Aloha state has a well-deserved reputation as a place of purity, health and healing," the letter states. "To associate Hawaii with a product long known for causing death and disease, therefore, is highly offensive to our residents and visitors."

Lingle said the letter "outlines pretty clearly what we felt about their campaign. I request that they stop it and that they not use any symbols of Hawaii in their attempt to sell cigarettes."

A message left with Winston-Salem, N.C.-based R.J. Reynolds was not immediately returned yesterday.

Last week, Lingle, Kauai Mayor Bryan Baptiste, state tourism officials and anti-smoking groups expressed anger over the Kauai Kolada ads that have been appearing in national publications for the past few weeks.

Ads for Kauai Kolada and "Twista Lime" -- another flavored Camel cigarette -- feature an island beauty in a grass skirt leisurely lying on two packs of cigarettes with a coconut drink in one hand and a lit cigarette in the other.

A company spokeswoman said Kauai Kolada and Twista Lime were introduced in early June and are only being manufactured for eight weeks as part of RJR's limited-edition summer blends line that began last year.

Lingle did not say whether the state was considering legal action, but noted in her letter that she feels the flavored cigarettes and ads target young people, an action which "abuses the spirit" of the landmark 1998 Tobacco Settlement Agreement that aims to prevent tobacco companies from marketing to youth.

The company denies that it is targeting children with the ads and the cigarettes and says it is simply marketing a legal product to adults.

Office of the Governor
R.J. Reynolds Tobacco



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