Health Officials Concerned That Williamsburg-Themed Cigarette Packaging Might Actually Work

Williamsburg lifers are up in arms about R.J. Reynolds’ plan to roll out a new line of Camels that feature the “hipster” neighborhood on its packaging. The choice of locale, Camel promotional material claims, is supposed to associate the brand with “breaking free.” Camel explains the Brooklyn neighborhood thusly: “It’s about last call, a sloppy kiss goodbye and a solo saunter to a rock show in an abandoned building.” They just don’t get it, the authentic Williamsburg resident howls down Bedford Avenue. They just don’t get it

Now, the contentious cigarette line is catching flack for a different reason: not only are these Williamsburg Camels crass, they’re so crass they just might work. The anti-smoking people, then, are worried enough that city health commissioner Thomas Farley has written a letter to R.J. Reynolds, the New York Daily News reports.

“I am particularly disturbed that this effort to recruit young smokers exploits the name and image of Brooklyn’s vibrant Williamsburg neighborhood,” the letter reads. 

The dangers of smoking hadn’t become too much of an issue up to now, mostly because it was inconceivable that non-smokers would actually pick up the habit because the “most famous hipster neighborhood” is featured on the pack. But who knows. Maybe there really are tons of teens with clean lungs who want to “break free.”

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