New “Gangnam” Cigarette Brand Markets a Deadly Product to Consumers, Youth

OAKLAND, CA – Asian Pacific Partners for Empowerment, Advocacy and Leadership (APPEAL) calls upon Canadian Tobacco and Global, Inc. (CT&G) to end its marketing of a new brand of cigarettes, named “Gangnam” after the upscale district in South Korea, which benefits from the popularity of the similarly-named song by famous South Korean rapper Psy.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 6, 2013

Contact:
Rod Lew, Executive Director, APPEAL
(510) 318-7814
rodlew@appealforhealth.org
www.appealforcommunities.org

NEW “GANGNAM” CIGARETTE BRAND MARKETS A DEADLY PRODUCT TO CONSUMERS, YOUTH

OAKLAND, CA – Asian Pacific Partners for Empowerment, Advocacy and Leadership (APPEAL) calls upon Canadian Tobacco and Global, Inc. (CT&G) to end its marketing of a new brand of cigarettes, named “Gangnam” after the upscale district in South Korea, which benefits from the popularity of the similarly-named song by famous South Korean rapper Psy. “This is a blatant act of marketing to youth, particularly those of Asian descent, and to consumers across the globe,” said Rod Lew, executive director of APPEAL. “Using ‘Gangnam’ as a brand name benefits from the widespread popularity of Psy’s hit song and sidesteps Canada’s strict rules for tobacco marketing.” Canada prohibits tobacco sponsorship, restricts and regulates advertising, and requires graphic warning labels about the negative effects of smoking to appear on cigarette packs.

Highly visible industry marketing campaigns using culturally-renowned celebrities and symbols have been part of the tobacco industry’s larger strategy to appeal to youth and young adults and recruit new smokers from diverse communities. Rates of smoking in South Korea and among those of Korean ancestry in the U.S. – especially young adults aged 18-24 – are extremely high, and are a cause for major concern due to the link between smoking and cancer, strokes, and heart disease. Targeting vulnerable communities already burdened with high rates of tobacco-related disease with this new product is just another instance of established tobacco industry tactics.

APPEAL is a national organization working towards social justice and a tobacco-free Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander community. APPEAL encourages smokers and families of Asian smokers in the U.S. to call the nationwide Asian Smokers’ Quitline. The Quitline offers a choice of free services in Asian languages including Korean, Cantonese, Mandarin, and Vietnamese, including one-on-one telephone counseling to quit smoking, self-help materials, referrals to local programs, and a two-week starter kit of nicotine patches.

To reach the Asian Smokers’ Quitline, call:
Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin): 1-800-838-8917
Korean: 1-800-556-5564
Vietnamese: 1-800-778-8440

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