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Joe Camel could be banned in Snowmass, Colo.

Councilman Jeff Tippett last week asked that an ordinance or resolution banning displays of the spokescamel be prepared after a visitor complained about his child seeing the character at a local store.

Although legislation has been introduced in both the Vermont and California legislatures seeking to prevent displays of Camel's signature character, Snowmass is apparently the first city to consider a ban.

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. decried the proposal.

"We would hope they would take a serious look at the reason children smoke, which is not advertising, then give us the opportunity to present evidence that Joe Camel does not cause children to smoke," said Peggy Carter, an RJR spokeswoman. "We think this is not necessary."

She said the ski resort city may be basing its activity on a recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association that discussed changes in smoking patterns, including more female teen-agers smoking since the 1960s, without noting the significant reduction in overall smoking or the big changes in women's roles in the last period unrelated to smoking.

No decision has been made yet on when any proposed ban would be considered. Cigarettes stayed in the forefront of advertising news last week. Among other actions:

The American Medical Association asked Major League Baseball teams to ban smoking and tobacco advertising in its ballparks.

The AMA, which had earlier called for banning all tobacco advertising, made its request just four months after Philip Morris USA lost its Marlboro sign from Seattle's Kingdome because of a new Washington state law banning cigarette advertising in all public buildings.

A similar conflict is smoldering in the Big Apple, where the New York Mets are currently fighting with the city to keep its Marlboro sign in Shea Stadium.

National Public Radio reported it obtained a list of 13 chemical additives to tobacco, including two that cause liver damage and convulsions in animals.

The 13 are among about 700 additives that are named on a proprietary list reported annually to the federal government.

A tobacco industry spokesman defended the additives as safe, even though the Food & Drug Administration doesn't allow any of the 13 to be used in foods because of safety concerns.

Tobacco companies said they planned no immediate steps to signal their concern about Time Warner executives meeting with a group representing religious-affiliated investors calling for a re-examination of the media company's open policy on tobacco ads.

"We feel Time Warner is capable of addressing the First Amendment and is aware of the potential threat to free-speech rights that picking and choosing among advertisers and brands in a category would present," said an RJR spokeswoman.

Philip Morris said it also plans no immediate reaction.

Time Warner agreed to discuss tobacco advertising with representatives of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility after the group agreed not to ask stockholders to vote on conducting a study of the company's tobacco ad policy.

A similar resolution will be voted on May 4 by Knight Ridder shareholders, while Gannett Co. shareholders on May 3 face a resolution asking that management salaries in part be based on social responsibility, including acceptance of tobacco advertising.

Athletic shoe marketer British Knights, a division of Jack Schwartz Shoes, unveiled a "Cartoons should make kids laugh, not cough" cause marketing campaign that will trade 50 pairs of shoes to the first kids who send in Joe Camel apparel.

The swap is being promoted through a public relations effort spearheaded by Jericho Promotions, New York. British Knights' agency, Deutsch, won't produce ads.

British Knights said after it gives out the 50 pairs, it will pass any additional Camel merchandise sent in to homeless groups without any prizes to those sending it in.

RJR's Ms. Carter said children could only have received Joe Camel merchandise by lying about their age or having the items passed down from adults. She also said that the British Knights effort could make Joe Camel merchandise more sought after by kids.

A British Knights spokesman said: "Of course, it garners great attention for our company, but it also sends a message a sneaker company needs to make-that we want kids healthy and playing, not smoking cigarettes."

British Knights has a history of cause marketing entailing swaps. During a two week period last August, it asked kids to turn in their TV remote controls for a free pair of shoes. The company received 5,000 remote controls, even though the free sneaker offer was limited to the first 100 kids.

Steven W. Colford contributed to this story.

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