Indianapolis Group Opposes Brown & Williamson Test Marketing

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CHICAGO ( -- A dead guinea pig is the star of a new anti-smoking ad in Indiana.

Anti-tobacco groups in Indianapolis have launched a statewide

The dead guinea pig with butt. Click to see full ad.
advertising and public awareness campaign to oppose the test marketing of Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp.'s Advance, its new low-toxin cigarette, in the Indianapolis area.

Two groups -- the Indiana Youth Tobacco Board and Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation -- ran the dead guinea pig ad last week in local Indianapolis newspapers and held a meeting this past weekend to confront B&W representatives directly.

The anti-tobacco groups were joined by Jeffrey Wigand, the former B&W employee made famous in the film The Insider.

'Toxins are poison'
The ad, by MZD Advertising, Indianapolis, shows a dead guinea pig on its back, with its paws in the air and a cigarette next to its mouth. The headline, "Indianapolis chosen as guinea pig to test new cigarette," is followed by copy that reads, "But we all know toxins are poisons. POISONS. And a little less poison won't leave you any less dead."

Other ads will follow, an MZD spokesman said.

Representatives from British American Tobacco's B&W declined the invitation to attend the Youth Tobacco Board's meeting.

'We don't meet with teenagers'
"We don't

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meet with teenagers," a B&W spokesman said. "Our manager of youth-smoking prevention sent them a letter explaining that cigarettes are a product for adults, and we don't think we should be meeting with teenagers to discuss marketing and advertising of cigarette products. We offered to meet with adult members of their organization and have an open dialog."

He said the group has not responded to that invitation.

B&W launched Advance in Indianapolis in early November, with ads from Fitzmaurice, Lewis & Partners, Louisville, Ky., with the tagline "All of the taste ... less of the toxins." The ads and packaging also include a disclaimer that reads: "There is no such thing as a safer cigarette, nor is there enough available medical information to know if Advance with less toxins will lower health risks."

Advance and other potentially less-hazardous tobacco products are also the subject of public health groups' petitions to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The groups are urging the FDA to regulate five products: Advance; Star Scientific's Ariva, a low-toxin smokeless tobacco lozenge; Vector Tobacco's low-carcinogen cigarette Omni; R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.'s tobacco-heating cigarette Eclipse; and S.F. Garret's Nicotine Water, a bottled water sold only over the Internet that contains nicotine.

Petitioners include the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Legacy Foundation, American Lung Association, American Medical Association and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

The petition
The petitions state: "Although the Supreme Court held last year that the FDA does not have jurisdiction over traditional tobacco products as customarily marked, the Court left undisturbed the agency's jurisdiction over products containing nicotine other than traditional tobacco products and tobacco products that make health claims."

But neither Vector nor B&W attach any health claims to Omni or Advance, respectively, and maintain there is no such thing as a safe cigarette.

"Unfortunately it looks like they didn't do their homework," Mark Smith, director of public affairs at B&W told "We are not making any health claims, as they say we are. We are going out of our way by putting information on the pack itself" that says Advance is not a safer cigarette.

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