Kent (cigarette)

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Kent Ultras
Product type Cigarette
Produced by British American Tobacco
Introduced 1952

Kent is a brand of cigarettes. Kent's Micronite filter was introduced shortly after the publication of a series of articles in Reader's Digest in 1952 entitled "Cancer by the Carton", that scared American consumers into seeking out a filter brand at a time when most brands were filterless. (Viceroy cigarettes had been the first to introduce filters, in 1936.)

From March 1952 until at least May 1956, however, the Micronite filter in Kent cigarettes contained carcinogenic blue asbestos.[1] Kent now uses charcoal filters (a form of activated carbon).

The Kent Filter with asbestos was tested in sample markets but was not sold on the general market because it was determined to filter out too much of the taste of the cigarette. The filter was designed with Eastman Kodak chemical engineers and was replaced with a cotton filter that was dyed green to mimic the asbestos color.

The brand is the property of British American Tobacco group.

The brand is named after Herbert Kent, a former executive at Lorillard Tobacco Company.

Kent outdoor advertising in Iași, Romania
1950s U.S. television advertisement

Between 1970 and 1990 Kent was the most demanded cigarette in Romania and in some parts of the domestic market used as payment or bribe. In the latter part of the interval, Kent was no longer available in regular retail, being sold officially only in hard currency shops. Obviously, black market was thriving, most Kent being smuggled in by those relatively few Romanians who were allowed to travel abroad, sea&air crew, diplomatic staff, etc.) [2][3]


  1. ^ Cancer Research 55, 1 June 1995
  2. ^, The Gazette (Montreal), Jonathan Lynn: Cigarettes good as gold in Romanaia, December 1st, 1984
  3. ^, The Wall Street Journal:In Romania, Smoking A Kent Cigarette Is Like Burning Money and In Romania, Kent Cigarettes are Very Useful As A Bartering Medium, March 1st, 1986

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