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Premier was a smokeless cigarette released in the United States in 1988 by the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. It worked by heating and aerosolizing tobacco flavour and was intended to reduce or eliminate the unhealthy side effects associated with smoking, both to the smoker and to the people around the smoker.
The project took several years to develop at a cost of more than $325 million.
While RJR itself questioned whether the device functioned adequately as a nicotine delivery device, activists derided it for its potential for use in delivery of other drugs. It never achieved popularity, as smokers complained about a charcoal-like aftertaste, and although it looked like a conventional cigarette, special instructions were required to teach smokers how to light it. RJR estimated that it would take two or three packs for a smoker to acquire a taste for Premier, but in practice many smokers only smoked one cigarette and shared the rest of the pack. It was withdrawn from the market in 1989, less than a year after its introduction.
It was launched in India in 2002 and failed in 2003
R.J. Reynolds reintroduced the concept behind the Premier cigarette as the Eclipse brand in the 1990s.
- RJR's Secret Project Spa - initial development concept of a safer cigarette
- Search For a Safe Cigarette: A History