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Don’t buy Newport's spin: "Pleasure Lounges" are deadly

Workers for Newport, the nation’s No. 2 cigarette brand, spent the summer handing out coupons for cigarettes at a price of $1-a-pack. That is five cents a smoke.

Usually they cost about seven times that much.

The vouchers—distributed at concerts, bars and convenience stores—have been part of an aggressive push by Newport-owner Reynolds American Inc., to target young adult smokers and boost Newport sales.

Our Take

Reynolds paid over $25 billion to buy Newport’s parent company last year, and now they expect us believe that they made that move just to market cigarettes to existing smokers. We don’t buy it. Especially given the fact that Reynolds is practically giving away the cigarettes for one dollar a pack. It’s equally troubling that these so-called Pleasure Lounges are showing up at events that appeal not just to young adults but also to teens. There is nothing pleasurable about the fact that at least half the people who smoke will have the distinct misery of getting a smoking-related disease, or that cigarette smoking causes 1,300 deaths every day. These troubling tactics highlight why banning menthol cigarettes—which research shows appeal to young people, and are more addictive and harder to quit—is more urgent than ever.

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