13 May 1998

Turning Kids Into Smokers

In 1991, Janet Mangini, a San Francisco family law attorney brought suit against the RJ Reynolds (RJR) tobacco company to end the Joe Camel cigarette advertising campaign, becoming the first person to legally challenge the tobacco industry for targeting minors with its advertising. The case was settled prior to the December 1997 trial date with RJR agreeing to terminate the Joe Camel campaign and to publicly release internal documents regarding its youth marketing strategies. The Joe Camel campaign had until then been very successful, making Camel the brand of choice amongst minors.

Over 2 000 pages of internal documents created by RJR are now available on the web. "To make informed decisions regarding current tobacco issues, the public must have access to this information which illuminates the business practices of the tobacco industry," said Robin L. Chandler, Head of Archives and Special Collections at the University of California, San Francisco Library (UCSF)/Center for Knowledge Management (CKM).

The documents outline some of the marketing strategies considered by RJR, including the transformation of the Camel symbol into "...a moving, talking, animated cartoon for children. It can also include the actual footage of visiting live camels in the zoo and in their native environment. Children love to watch animals (repeatability) and this video can incorporate an education/entertainment theme."

The Mangini documents join approximately 10 000 pages of previously secret documents from the Brown and Williamson Tobacco Company that UCSF posted on the web previously, after the University successfully thwarted a lawsuit by Brown and Williamson to prevent publication of the documents. "We hope to continue UCSF's leadership in making tobacco documents available to the public in a useful form" said Chandler.

GoGo Further: The Mangini Documents