• Subscribe to the AG's RSS Feed
  • Join the AG's FaceBook
  • Follow the AG on Twitter
  • View the AG's YouTube Channel

Attorney General Reaches Settlement with R.J. Reynolds Over Free Cigarette Mailings

Reynolds Agrees to Further Protect Against Marketing to Children

Friday, January 5, 2001
Contact: (415) 703-5837, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

(SACRAMENTO) – Attorney General Bill Lockyer today announced a settlement with R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company over allegations the company violated terms of the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) and state consumer protection laws in its mailing of free cigarettes to Californians.

The dispute concerns Reynolds' nationwide program of distributing massive quantities of free cigarettes through the mail to individuals' homes. The MSA prohibits tobacco companies from giving away free samples where children might gain access. According to Reynolds, the reason for this distribution was consumer evaluation and testing, which is allowed by the MSA. However, many of the persons who received the free cigarettes had not asked to receive them, and some were non-smokers.

The settlement, approved by the San Diego Superior Court on December 28, 2000, provides that Reynolds may mail free cigarettes only to adults who have given their prior consent to receive the free cigarettes specifically for evaluation or testing purposes. Reynolds must verify that each person who signs one of its consent forms is indeed an adult, and may only mail free cigarettes to persons whose consent forms or consumer evaluation forms are recent (received within the prior 180 days). The settlement also limits the number of packs per mailing and limits the size of mailers so they fit into the smallest slot allowed by Postal regulations. Under the settlement, Reynolds must report the number of free cigarettes it mails to Californians.

"The Master Settlement Agreement is designed to help protect children from inappropriate marketing practices," Lockyer stated. "Thanks to this settlement agreement, we will be protecting children from the marketing tactics used by tobacco companies."

R.J. Reynolds also agreed to pay $175,000 for investigative costs, to be shared between California and Arizona. Lockyer worked with Arizona Attorney General Janet Napolitano to reach the settlement agreement with Reynolds.

To enforce state laws involving tobacco, Attorney General Lockyer has established a full-time state tobacco enforcement unit. Consumers can call a complaint line, 916-565-6486, to report suspected violations of the Master Settlement Agreement. Inquiries and reports of suspected violations can also be mailed to the Tobacco Litigation Section at P.O. Box 944255, Sacramento, CA 94244-2550. Additional information is available on the Attorney General's Tobacco Litigation and Enforcement website, http://ag.ca.gov/tobacco/

# # #

Press Office Contacts

Email: agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

Phone Number: (415) 703-5837


Megan's Law

California Registered Sex Offender Database

Search Now

Site Navigation

Translate Website

  • Google™ Translation Disclaimer

This Google™ translation feature is provided for informational purposes only.

The Office of the Attorney General is unable to guarantee the accuracy of this translation and is therefore not liable for any inaccurate information resulting from the translation application tool.

Please consult with a translator for accuracy if you are relying on the translation or are using this site for official business.

If you have any questions please contact:Bilingual Services Program at (916) 324-5482

A copy of this disclaimer can also be found on our Disclaimer page.

Select a Language Below / Seleccione el Idioma Abajo

Close this box or use the [ X ]