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Brown & Williamson Could Face Suit Over DJ Contest

CHICAGO -- Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan threatened Tuesday to sue Brown & Williamson Tobacco Co. unless the company stops its plans to pass out brand logo merchandise at its DJ contests in Chicago this summer, reported the Chicago Tribune.

In early May, Madigan and other state attorneys general charged that the tobacco company violated a 1998 settlement that prohibits tobacco companies from marketing to children.

Madigan's office said that B&W gave out name-brand merchandise at two of its Kool Mixx DJ contest events in Illinois in March. At these shows, DJs compete for a $10,000 grand prize.

She also threatened to sue B&W if it gives out similar products at the final Kool Mixx DJ event in Chicago this July, or if it broadcasts the event on the Internet.

The company said it had stopped distributing CD-ROMs at its DJ events and limited-edition cigarette boxes in April.

"Categorically, we're not marketing to minors, we're not studying minors, we don't know anything about minors," said B&W spokesman Mark Smith. "We do market to adults in a responsible manner."

Smith said that B&W made only a two-week run of the boxes and that there should be very few, if any, left on store shelves.

Illinois has also joined 30 other states and jurisdictions in threatening to sue B&W for its Kool Mixx advertising campaign, waiting for a company response by June 6.

The limited-edition Kool Mixx cigarette boxes have graffiti-like illustrations of hip-hop DJs, rappers and dancers. Four different boxes placed side-by-side form a mural.
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