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Medical News & Perspectives
May 17, 2000

A "Safer" Cigarette? Prove It, Say Critics

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JAMA. 2000;283(19):2507-2508. doi:10.1001/jama.283.19.2507

A controversial marketing campaign touting a cigarette-like product as less likely than conventional cigarettes to cause cancer and other smoking-related illnesses is drawing fire from public health officials, scientists, and antismoking advocates. The new marketing effort comes only 4 weeks after the US Supreme Court ruled that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lacks the authority to regulate tobacco products.

At R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Holdings (RJR) Inc's annual shareholders meeting, CEO Andrew J. Schindler announced that RJR was marketing a cigarette called Eclipse with the claim that the product may present smokers with "less risk of cancer and certain other diseases, such as chronic bronchitis and possibly emphysema."As part of the new marketing campaign, RJR is using newspaper and magazine advertising along with direct marketing, aimed primarily at consumers in the Dallas–Fort Worth area. Until now, the product has been available only in test markets in Chattanooga, Tenn; Lincoln, Neb; and parts of Atlanta.