WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Federal Trade Commission today charged R.J. Reynolds with unfair advertising practices, alleging that its Joe Camel campaign targets children.

The accusation against the nation's second-largest cigarette maker comes after investigators uncovered new information that was not available when the FTC initially exonerated Joe Camel three years ago.

Jodie Bernstein, the FTC's director of consumer trade protection, had recommended bringing the charges several months ago.

FTC officials would not immediately provide details or the commission's vote. A news conference was scheduled for this afternoon.

RJR spokeswoman Peggy Carter did not immediately return a phone call, but the company has continued to defend Joe Camel, the ``cool'' cartoon character in his dark sunglasses who lounges on billboards and in magazine ads nationwide.

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