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Tobacco Marketing Strategies


New Cigarette Brands With Flavors That Appeal To Youth

Tobacco manufacturers have recently introduced a proliferation of exotic

brands featuring candylike flavors. We reviewed internal tobacco industry documents and patents to assess the role of flavored cigarettes in the targeting of young smokers. This research revealed the development of flavor delivery technologies hidden from consumers and public health professionals, including the use of a plastic pellet placed in the cigarette filter. These findings raise concerns as to the potential added health risks associated with using new flavored tobacco products, and they underscore the need for effective assessment and monitoring of tobacco products.

Despite assurances that they no longer target youth either directly or indirectly, cigarette manufacturers have recently introduced a range of candy-and liqueur-flavored tobacco products, with alluring names such as Dark Mint, Cool Myst, Midnight Berry, and Mocha Taboo, and seasonal variations such as Bayou Blast and Midnight Madness. These brand extensions are being heavily marketed to youth and racial/ethnic groups, with colorful and stylish packaging and flavors that mask the harsh and toxic properties of tobacco smoke. While overall cigarette sales have fallen, RJ Reynolds’ (RJR’s) Camel brand family experienced a 9.8 percent sales volume increase during the past year, coinciding with the introduction of flavored brand extensions.

The purpose of this study was to review internal industry research to provide insight into flavored cigarettes and novel flavor technologies that are being used to capture the youth market. First, we reviewed internal documents to examine the use of flavors to target youth, including differences in flavor preferences among this target population, as well as industry product design and marketing strategies. Second, we assessed internal industry research as well as U.S. patents to identify the use of new and nonconventional flavor delivery systems in cigarettes, including the possible effects on product delivery. Finally, we considered the incorporation of new technology in recent products and policy implications based on their potential role in targeting new smokers.

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