Contact l Sitemap

home industries issues reasearch weblog press

Home  » Industries » Tobacco

Letter from Reverend Jesse Brown to RJ Reynolds

by Reverend Jesse BrownChrist Evangelical Lutheran Church
February 6th, 1997

Sent approximately February 6, 1997 -- giving them 30 days to withdraw the product. As a result, RJ Reynolds met with Rev. Brown and NAAAPI. The issue is still under debate.

Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church
3006 West Diamond Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19121-1110

Dear RJ Reynolds:

I am writing to you as a Lutheran minister of two congregations in North Philadelphia, as a father of four teenage children, and as one of the African American community leaders who successfully fought the introduction of Uptown cigarettes in 1991. I am extremely upset about your company's continued efforts to target the African American community with products of death. The recent decision by the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company to market a new mentholated version of Camel cigarettes is unconscionable. That is why the National Association of African Americans for Positive Imagery, which I serve as one of its founders, has launched a national crusade against this new brand.

On February 1, 1997, I stood as one of four religious leaders representing different Christian denominations at a Walgreens Pharmacy in Chicago to protest their sale of Camel menthols. A few hours later, another group gathered in Los Angles at a 7-Eleven convenience store to urge that store owner to take Camel menthols off his store shelves -- and he did. The crusade against Camel menthols is growing daily and gaining strength as people throughout the country marshal resources to protect children from the rebellious lure of Smooth Joe and his camel buddies, playing pool, blowing on his saxophone, joyriding on the highway, and, of course, smoking Camel cigarettes.

Seven years ago, your company made the wise and correct decision in withdrawing Uptown from the market in the face of sustained and strong community opposition to its introduction. I am asking you to act in the public interest once again by voluntarily withdrawing Camel menthols from the market and ending the advertising campaign that supports it within the next 30 days. In making this request, I know that I speak for millions who feel as I do.

The specific date that the Say No to Menthol Joe Community Crusade has set for the total withdrawal of Camel menthols is Thursday, March 6, 1997. Failure to meet this deadline will lead to an escalation of protests against the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, RJR-Nabisco, Inc., retail establishments that sell your company's products, and advertisers that promote the sales of Camel menthols. Those protests will continue in communities throughout the entire United States until the goal of removing Camel menthols from the marketplace is achieved.

I trust that you will act in the best interests of children in this country and throughout the world in making your decision.

To God Be The Glory,

Jesse W. Brown, Jr.