Thursday, August 21, 2008
5845: Newport’s Pleasurable Rebuttal.
From The Chicago Tribune…
Defending the marketing of menthol cigarettes
Your story “Blacks seen as targets of menthol; Exemption for additive troubles many critics” [See here.] mischaracterizes the facts regarding the marketing of menthol cigarettes. It is but one more example of a coordinated effort by paternalistic moralists through the media who neither know the facts or the science about menthol in cigarettes nor care to learn them.
This campaign is seeking to take away a smoker’s choice to smoke menthol cigarettes, or to smoke at all. It is a blatant effort to impose a politically correct agenda on the American public with the unfortunate assistance of the media.
The Chicago Tribune article leads the public to believe that tobacco industry marketing practices target African-Americans differently from the targeting by other consumer product manufacturers. The article uses race as the emotional lure to turn the public against those companies that have the audacity to market their products to those who want to use them.
We know that the marketing of cigarettes at all is an anathema to those who want to end smoking, but to characterize the marketing methods of our company as “designed specifically to lure young blacks into a lifetime of tobacco use” is slanderous. Moreover, it is particularly offensive since the reporter never contacted us in an effort to understand our marketing practices.
The truth is that Lorillard markets its Newport brand cigarettes to adult smokers of all ethnicities. The truth is that our marketing is not disproportionately directed to African-Americans. The truth is that we do not target underage smokers. The truth is that there are twice as many Caucasian menthol cigarette smokers as there are African-American menthol cigarette smokers. I challenge those who want to prove otherwise to come forward with evidence to support their charges.
Our consumers have the right and ability to choose to smoke and to select their brand of preference. Suggesting that certain ethnic groups are more impressionable than others is insulting to our consumers and wrongly suggests that some are incapable of making individual choices.
Martin L. Orlowsky
Chairman, president and
Chief executive officer
Lorillard Tobacco Co.