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Say No to Menthol Joe Community Crusade, Next Steps!

National Association of African Americans for Positive Imagery (NAAAPI)
June 30th, 1997

The next step in the national Say No to Menthol Joe Community Crusade is to apply pressure to the Walgreens Pharmacy chain to get them to stop carrying Camel menthols. Remember we are not going against all Camels in this action because the other versions have loyal followings. We are going against Camel menthols and menthol lights to get a clear victory against Big Tobacco.

Reverend Jesse Brown and Father Michael Pfleger spoke with Walgreens corporate office today -- Thursday, February 6 -- and were told that the decision is that WALGREENS WILL CONTINUE TO SELL CAMEL MENTHOLS. Let's activate the national tobacco prevention network and convince Walgreens that it should change its mind and withdraw Camel menthols from all of its nearly 2,400 stores.

1. Have people call Ed King, Director of Trade at the Walgreens's national office, right outside of Chicago. His telephone number is 847-914-2500. Let's flood him with telephone calls from people urging Walgreens to stop selling Camel menthols. Fax us at NAAAPI (215-477-5535) to let us know that you've made the call and what was said. We want to keep the pressure on at the national offices of Walgreens.

2. Visit your local Walgreens and ask about Camel menthols. Express your displeasure if they are on sale and urge the store not to continue to sell this brand extension. Look around for any in-store signage and any special promotions. Leave information with the local store managers.

3. Plan some sort of demonstration of displeasure at your local Walgreens pharmacy. It can be something as simple as a few persons walking with picket signs out front to a more insistent direct action. NAAAPI can provide your group with technical assistance, sample news release, and a Say No to Menthol Joe Community Crusade Direct Action Kit. Call us at 215-477-4113, fax us at 215-477-5535, or e-mail us via SCARCNet or directly at naaapi@msn.com

The latest news from Ad Age is that Reynolds' may be suspending all advertising support to Salem for the next few months and directing that money to an expanded media campaign for Camel menthols. This is the only national brand launch that Reynolds has underway and is chancy at best since it is hard to get existing smokers to switch brands. Their only chance for success is to use this campaign to lure new smokers, especially from the ranks of African American youth where smoking rates are still quite low despite the recent increase. Remember, however, that Camel menthols is not strictly African American although this will be a major market. This new brand also has the potential to lure White youth, Hispanic youth and Asian and Pacific Islander youth, and Native American/Alaskan Native youth.

In addition to calling Walgreens corporate office and visiting their stores, people should begin sending letters to the editor and calling radio talk shows and going on the Internet/World Wide Web expressing displeasure about the new Camel menthols and the complicity of stores like Walgreens who continue to promote and sell this product.

If we show strong community displeasure applied at retailers who carry the brand, starting with Walgreens, it is likely that we can force the complete withdrawal of the product. But to be successful, we will need a groundswell of hundreds of communities speaking out on this issue. And this is also a perfect way to also show support for the new FDA regulations that will end marketing efforts like "Smooth Joe" forever!.

Feel free to duplicate this information and share it with tobacco prevention supporters everywhere!