I thought the FDA and RJ Reynolds had reached an agreement to knock this stuff off — a new ad in my Sports Illustrated last month STILL advertising that Natural Spirit cigarettes are “100 percent additive free.”
I posted about this back in March. This was a settlement in response to FDA ruling that RJR had to drop its advertising that Natural American Spirit cigarettes were somehow more “natural” than other brands, when in fact, they simply are not. There’s simply little or no difference between this particular RJR brand and other cigarettes. It’s not safer in any, way, shape or form.
Reportedly, the FDA and RJR reached this agreement in January. From a March article about the agreement:
In the memorandum, Reynolds said it would “remove the phrase[s] ‘Additive Free’ … [and] ‘Natural’ from all Natural American Spirit cigarette product labels, labeling, advertising and promotional materials,” with the caveat that Santa Fe will still be permitted to use the term Natural in the Natural American Spirit brand name.
Yet, here in AUGUST, there is still an ad in Sports Illustrated, eight months after the agreement with the big, fat words “Additive Free” in the ad. So, I’ve tried looking into it and I can’t find any information other than a lawsuit has been filed against RJR and the FDA over the agreement.
Was the agreement supposed to take effect in 2018? Is RJR simply ignoring the settlement? I have no idea. But, it pissed me off.
And Jesus, it pisses me off that Sports Illustrated keeps taking tobacco advertising, too.
A few months ago, I chastised Sports Illustrated for printing a bunch of photos of some Spanish golfer smoking cigars (I don’t do golf, hell if I remember the guy’s name, but he’s apparently a big character on the Senior PGA Tour).
SI Golf pushed it even further this month, with a photo of a couple of golfing equipment builders smoking on its cover. Jesus Christ, who still puts smoking photos on their magazine covers? I get it that it’s cigars, not cigarettes, but you can’t even smoke a cigar anymore in a Marvel movie (true!).
SI, a magazine that is read by a lot of teens and young adults, also takes a lot of advertising for cigarettes, chewing tobacco and e-cigarettes. They also will take ads for the COPD Foundation and the lung cancer awareness. I really think SI is one of the worst magazines I’ve seen out there for continuing to promote tobacco products and for giving Big Tobacco a venue for its advertising.
I have no problem with tobacco ads in adult magazines like Playboy or Penthouse, but SI is read by all ages. And most magazines for all ages have stopped taking tobacco ads (In fact, I helped convince Discover magazine to stop taking American Spirit ads … God’s honest truth.).
This has been for some time been a burr up my butt, but actually putting smoking on their cover really ticks me off. You guys need to guy a clue. Seriously. Knock it off with the promoting smoking and promoting tobacco products, you shills.
This made my head explode. Sports Illustrated’s policies on tobacco advertising are starting to make my head explode.
We all know SI takes tobacco advertising — a LOT of tobacco advertising. Not only do you find cigarette ads in nearly every issue, you will also find chewing tobacco ads and ads for Blu e-cigarettes. Usually full-page.
SI’s insistence on continuing to take tobacco advertising has drawn the ire of more than a few anti-tobacco advocates. SI is a magazine that is read by a lot of teenagers (I started reading it in my teens).
Well, I usually don’t react to the ominpresent tobacco and e-cig ads in SI, but this one really took the cake. In the April 20th edition of the magazine, there is an ad for Natural American Spirit cigarettes on page 21 (Though the brand likes to play up its Native American roots, these aren’t actually Native American cigarettes, it’s a brand that been owned for 15 years by Reynolds American, the same conglomerate that owns RJ Reynolds.).
Natural American Spirit cigarettes ads are especially odious because the brand markets itself as being “organic” and “natural” and “additive-free.” Their ads are complete B.S. These guys have been reamed over the coals by the Department of Justice for not-so-subtly claiming that by somehow being “natural,” their cigarettes were more healthy than other brands. Reynolds is now required to add onto these ads these disclaimers: “Organic tobacco does NOT mean a safer cigarette” and “No additives in our tobacco does NOT mean a safer cigarette.”
Anyway, on page 86 is a full-page ad for cigars and then on page 119, the killer, another full-pagead for an organization called “Stand up to Cancer,” with a testimonial from actor Tony Goldwyn (he was the bad guy in “Ghost,” remember that movie?), who lost his mother to lung cancer. The ad focuses on the advances being made today to combat lung cancer: “My mom didn’t have many options. Today’s lung cancer patients do.”
I suppose I should give SI some modicum of credit for not being so insensitive as to put the Natural American Spirit ad on the facing page from the ad about lung cancer. But, still my head went “BAM!”
Here you have a product that is the No. 1 cause of lung cancer — by a MILE — being advertised on page(s) 21 and 86, and then an ad about the cost of lung cancer on page 119. The whole thing just felt shameless to me by Sports Illustrated. C’mon, man, the time has long passed for that magazine to simply say “no” to cigarette advertising. Newspapers rarely, if ever take cigarette ads (contrary to public belief, there’s no law against it, newspapers just simply as a rule don’t take cigarette ads), and many, many magazines refuse to take cigarette ads. Several years ago, I got really mad at Discover magazine for having a Natural American Spirit ad, and that magazine is absolutely directed at kids, moreso than SI. I got a nice letter from them apologizing and promising they would no longer take tobacco ads (I think I got a free subscription for a year out of the deal, too. It must have been a persuasive letter.).
This is a point I’ve been making for weeks now. E-cig companies are making their ads almost identical to cigarette ads from 40 and 50 years ago, using sex and sophistication to sell their products.
Business Insider came up with a feature showing the amazing similarity between today’s e-cig ads and vintage cigarette ads. The problem with this? Tobacco companies are on record using sex, sophistication and even cartoon characters with the expressed purpose of marketing those cigarettes to teens (or, what the industry liked to call “new smokers.”)
It’s no secret e-cig use has been growing exponentially the last couple of years, and in particular, it’s becoming increasingly popular with kids. One of the reasons for the use of e-cig among kids is that until now, it’s been legal to sell e-cigs and e-cig products to kids, so it’s a lot less hassle for kids to get their hands on them than cigarettes (and ultimately much cheaper, too).
It wouldn’t be that big of a deal except e-cigs contain nicotine and as we all know, nicotine is one of the most physically addictive products on Earth, so the e-cig companies can act all innocent, but they know damn well kids are buying their product and their product will addict kids to nicotine.
Anyway, here is the gallery from Business Insider with these amazing comparisons.
She showed me an ad with Stan Musial, Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams advertising cigarettes and I got the bright idea to see how many ads there had been with baseball stars hawking tobacco products.
And when I looked, I said, “WHOA!”
I found dozens upon dozens upon dozens of ads going all the way back to the early 1900s. I was really shocked. I had never seen these ads before. I knew full well that tobacco companies had used many, many movie stars over the years to sell cigarettes, but I wasn’t aware of all the baseball ads.
The first ad that popped up hit me like a ton of bricks — Roger Maris. Roger Maris, as we all know, smoked five packs a day to deal with the stress of going after Babe Ruth’s home run record. He also died at the age of 50 from cancer. (Strangely enough, his family has always been fiercely private about what exactly Maris died of. There’s been varying reports that he died either of head and neck cancer, lung cancer, lymph gland cancer or lymphoma; I’ve found articles saying all four. The family has always been reticent to discuss it and the story seems to have changed at times about what exact kind of cancer he had. All I can think of is they don’t want people saying, “Well, Maris did it to himself.” Anyway, I digress. He died of cancer. At the age of 50.)
Maris also had a fairly short career. He was basically done at 30 and completely out of baseball at 33. I’ve always wondered if his heavy smoking habit helped break his body down so quickly. It definitely couldn’t have helped.
Another ad that jumped out of me was Babe Ruth endorsing Old Gold. He was a smoker and chewer who died of throat cancer at 53. There’s more. DiMaggio was in a ton of cigarette ads. And while he lived into his 80s, he died of lung disease (likely COPD). Another one that jumped out at me — Jackie Robinson, who died at 52 of diabetes (and it’s known today, not then, that smoking is a risk factor for diabetes).
Another tobacco ad featured Harry Heilmann, a very good hitter in the 1920s. He died of lung cancer at the age of 56. Another chew ad featured Nellie Fox, a Hall of Famer who died at 47 of melanoma.
Anyway, here is a slideshow of these old baseball tobacco ads: