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Russian Cigarette Maker Withdraws Brand Accused Of Targeting Young Girls

A Russian cigarette manufacturer has withdrawn a line of cigarettes from the market after complaints from the public the brand was blatantly targeting young girls.

Donskoy Tabak’s “Sweet Dreams” cigarette brand featured colourful, candy-like packaging and advertising that featured tag lines like "If you’re not allowed, but you really want it, then you can have it!"

That is, until a public outcry prompted the company to pull the brand last week. But, as the Moscow News reported, it’s unclear whether two other controversial brands from the same manufacturer -- “Kiss” and “Play” -- would be also be removed from the market.

According to the Financial Times’ BeyondBrics blog, the “Sweet Dreams” marketing campaign didn’t ruffle many Russian feathers until advertising news site Adme.ru ran a pictorial of the ads last month.

That prompted noted Russian social activist Alexei Navalny to begin blogging about the cigarettes, and late last week, Navalny declared victory with Donskoy Tabak’s decision to remove the cigarettes.

It’s a “rare victory for social opinion in Russia,” the activist said.

Russia has one of the highest smoking rates in the Western world, with some 60 per cent of adults partaking in the habit. Unlike most of its European counterparts, the country has seen rapid increases in the smoking rate in recent decades. Smoking reportedly doubled in the two decades since the Cold War ended.

But the country is now planning a crackdown, with Russian officials outlining a new plan that will ban smoking in bars, restaurants and offices; raise taxes on tabacco; and may potentially prohibit cigarette displays in stores.

Here are a few of the ads, courtesy of Adme.ru. Check out their website for the full collection.

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