I looked a bit into it and found some bits of the "research" in the campaign against the character and the claim that Camels went from like 1% to 30% of the youth market after Joe Camel had been introduced is just wrong. Camel has always been a major brand and it's inconceivable that it would have a one-percent share, even if it had become more of an old-man cigarette by that point. A 3,000% jump in market share (check my math yo) would have been much noticed and remarked upon.
That surprises me that your mom was so cool about that. I always assumed you had a fairly conservative upbringing.