Barclay (cigarette)

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Barclay cigarette logo.png
Product typeCigarette
OwnerBritish American Tobacco
Produced byR.J. Reynolds (US)
BAT (outside US)
CountryUnited States
Introduced1966; 55 years ago (1966)
Discontinued2006; 15 years ago (2006)
Related brandsKent
MarketsSee Markets
Previous ownersBrown & Williamson
Tagline"The pleasure is back"

Barclay was an American brand of cigarettes manufactured by R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company in the U.S. and by British American Tobacco outside of the U.S.

First introduced in 1966, the brand was discontinued in 2006.


Barclay cigarettes were first introduced in the United States by Brown & Williamson in 1966, as a long-size (80 mm) brand tipped with the "Millecel" filter (which was used on various cigarette brands throughout the world in the 1960s). This version was later discontinued.[1]

The brand got re-launched in 1980 by Brown & Williamson as an "ultra-low tar" product featuring an "Actron" filter.[2] The launch of the brand was the most expensive in history ($150 million in 1980, equal to about $340 million today).[3] Remarkably, the 1 mg tar King Size (3 mg tar 100 mm) cigarette broke sales records for a new cigarette within months of release.[4]

To introduce Barclay cigarettes, B&W rolled out an advertising campaign that claimed the product was 99% tar free. The product had a specific design that generated phenomenally low yield data in the Federal Trade Commission tests for tar. This alarmed B&W’s competitors, who then petitioned the FTC for help. In doing so, they disclosed their knowledge that the FTC testing procedure was flawed and the yield data was thus invalid for human smokers.[5]

During the 1980s and 1990s, 2 films were made. One was to show its design and production, and the other was a compilation of BBC clips as well as various German television programs about BAT's Barclay and the flaws of smoking machine testing results.[6][7]

In 2006 British American Tobacco sold the brand to R.J. Reynolds and renamed it in many countries to Kent.[8]


Dutch pack of Barclays

Brown & Williamson claimed Barclay gave the smoker just 1 milligram of tar and 0.2 milligrams of nicotine by the FTC method of testing. This immediately caused a stir at the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, who claimed that the Barclay cigarette had a new filter design that allowed it to circumvent the FTC tests and misreport the amount of tar and nicotine being delivered to the smoker.[9]

Cigarette makers traditionally lower the "tar" content of cigarettes by designing filters that allow air to mix with the smoke, diluting it. The filters of most "low tar" cigarettes have rows of small ventilating holes encircling the filter which allow air to mix with smoke during inhalation, diluting the "tar" and nicotine in the smoke. The Barclay cigarette, however, had four lengthwise channels which conducted the air from the ventilating holes directly into the smoker's mouth, preventing air from mixing with the smoke until the level of the smoker's mouth. The amount of air dilution in the Barclay cigarette could be reduced if the smoker crushed the channels or blocked them with his lips. Since the FTC machine did not block the channels, it allowed the maximum of amount of air to mix with the smoke.

RJR wrote to the FTC and argued that the FTC's testing machines did not collapse or block the filter holes on Barclay as a human smoker does, and thus the machine indicated a much lower "tar" content when testing Barclay than is typically delivered by Barclay to consumers. One account claimed that consumers were able to obtain up to seven times more smoke from Barclay cigarettes than from other cigarettes.[10]

An RJR memo highlighted by the United States Department of Justice discussed the effects on the tobacco industry if the FTC failed to stop Barclay from being marketed as a low tar cigarette:

During our consideration of various aspects of the "Barclay problem" it has become apparent to us that the failure of the rule against Brown and Williamson could trigger events that would ultimately be disastrous for the entire tobacco industry.

We envision the following events as being very likely if the FTC fails to act against Brown and Williamson:

  1. The Barclay cigarette and, more importantly, the concept of "beating the FTC" would be legitimized.
  2. Public acceptance (sales) of the Barclay would continue increase.
  3. Other tobacco companies, including RJR, will be forced to protect their interests in the marketplace by introducing "Barclay competitors". At first these will be mere mimics of Barclay, designed to circumvent Brown and Williamson's patent protection.
  4. The next generation of "Barclay competitors" will be spawned (indeed has already been spawned) in the minds of R & D and marketing people throughout the industry and its suppliers. This generation of products, or the next, could easily be products which will deliver NO 'tar' or nicotine when smoked by the FTC method, and yet when smoked by humans essentially be unfiltered cigarettes. Such products could (and would) be advertised as "tar-free", zero milligrams FTC tar," or "the ultimate low-tar cigarette", while actually delivering 20-, 30-, 40-Mg or more 'tar' when used by a human smoker! They will be extremely easy to design and produce. If there is any doubt that such products could be made, we will be happy to provide design sketches or prototypes of new or existing designs which will substantially accomplish the feat. Such cigarettes, while deceptive in the extreme, would be very difficult for the consumer to resist, since they would provide everything that we presently believe makes for desirable products: taste, "punch," ease of draw and "low FTC tar". Once such products are legitimately introduced, no Manufacturer could survive and resist the marketplace pressure to produce them.
  5. Such products will be recognized by anti-smoking forces for what they are....No time would be lost in their allegation that cigarette Manufacturers were corrupt, duplicitous monsters who should be barred from foisting their insidious and deadly wares on the innocent public

The anti-smoking forces will be able to demonstrate, as we have done in the case of Barclay, the nature of these products. They will thus be given a means to marshal public opinion against the tobacco industry as never before. It is conceivable that such a revitalized campaign could lead to extremely harsh regulatory legislation or outright prohibition of cigarette manufacture...[11]

In December 1981, Brown & Williamson accused the Federal Trade Commission of injustice because of the way the agency aired a tobacco industry dispute about their product.[12]

In June 1982, the Federal Trade Commission unanimously concluded that Brown & Williamson no longer can advertise its popular low-tar Barclay as a "one-milligram-tar" cigarette. Within minutes after the FTC made its announcement, Brown & Williamson filed suit in a federal court in Louisville, Kentucky asking that the FTC be barred from taking action against Barclay advertisements pending a lawsuit. The stay was granted only minutes after the suit was filed.[13]


Brown & Williamson made various magazine and print adverts to promote the Barclay brand since its launch in 1980. The ads showed a man with a classy tuxedo suit with a Barclay cigarette in his mouth with the slogan "The pleasure is back" underneath.[14][15][16][17][18][19][20] The slogan "99% tar free" was also present, but eventually had to be removed after the FTC filed a complaint that the claim was misleading.[13]


Formula 1[edit]

Thierry Boutsen during practice for the 1985 European Grand Prix. Notice the prominent Barclay livery on the car.

Barclay sponsored various Formula 1 teams in the 1980s and 1990s.

Barclay sponsored the Arrows F1 team from 1984 to 1986. The brand was displayed on the front wing, sides, rear wing and on the driver's helmets.[21][22] In countries where tobacco sponsorship was forbidden, the logo's were removed from the car.[23][24]

Barclay sponsored the Jordan Grand Prix team in 1992 and 1993. The brand was displayed on the sides and on the driver's helmets.[25][26][27] In countries where tobacco sponsorship was forbidden, the logo's were replaced with the Barclay emblem, as well as a red-white line.[28][29]

Barclay sponsored the Williams F1 team from 1987 up to 1990. The brand was displayed on the sides, the side of the rear wing and on the driver's helmets.[30][31] In countries where tobacco sponsorship was forbidden, the logo's were replaced with the Barclay emblem, as well as a red-white line.[32][33]

Formula 3000[edit]

Barclay sponsored the "Team Barclay EJR" team in the 1991 Formula 3000 Series championship.[34][35][36]


Barclay cigarettes were sold in the following countries: United States, Martinique, Chile, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Luxembourg, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy, Estonia, Lithuania and Russia.[1][8][37][38]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "BrandBarclay - Cigarettes Pedia".
  2. ^ "History - R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company".[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ Kozlowski, L T (2005). "An extremely compensatible cigarette by design: Documentary evidence on industry awareness and reactions to the Barclay filter design cheating the tar testing system". Tobacco Control. 14: 64–70. doi:10.1136/tc.2004.009167. PMC 1747993. PMID 15735303.
  4. ^ "Industry Documents Library".
  5. ^ Pollay, R W; Dewhirst, T (2002). "The dark side of marketing seemingly "Light" cigarettes: Successful images and failed fact". Tobacco Control. 11: i18–i31. doi:10.1136/tc.11.suppl_1.i18. PMC 1766068. PMID 11893811.
  6. ^ "Barclay cigarettes". 17 March 1991 – via Internet Archive.
  7. ^ "Barclay cigarettes" – via Internet Archive.
  8. ^ a b "Barclay".
  9. ^ "Barclay cigarette - SourceWatch".
  10. ^ "Industry Documents Library".
  11. ^ "Industry Documents Library".
  12. ^ "The makers of Barclay brand cigarettes are accusing the..."
  13. ^ a b Mayer, Caroline E. (26 June 1982). "Not-So-Low-Tar Cigarette Fooled Tester, FTC Says" – via
  14. ^ "Vintage Tobacco/ Cigarette Ads of the 1980s (Page 8)".
  15. ^ "Barclay Cigarettes - Old Playboy Ads". 2 September 2012.
  16. ^ "Barclay Cigarettes 1982". 27 September 2017.
  17. ^ "Tobacco Advertisements". Pinterest.
  18. ^ "Vintage Tobacco/ Cigarette Ads of the 1980s".
  19. ^ "US weekly magazine 1983: Morgan Fairchild, Bowie, OJ Simpson, Lou Reed and Cigarettes For Aerobics - Flashbak". 25 May 2016.
  20. ^ "1981 Barclay Cigarettes Ad". Vintage Paper Ads.
  21. ^ "Marc Surer". Pinterest.
  22. ^ "Arrows-BMW". 29 January 2015.
  23. ^ "F-1 Team Arrows". Pinterest.
  24. ^ "Marc Surer (Great Britain 1984)". DeviantArt.
  25. ^ "1993 Formuła 1". Pinterest.
  26. ^ "F.1". Pinterest.
  27. ^ "Livery Histories #2: Jordan". 15 December 2010.
  28. ^ "Jordan Grand Prix Cars". Flickr.
  29. ^ "1993 Formuła 1". Pinterest.
  30. ^ "F1". Pinterest.
  31. ^ "F-1 Team Williams". Pinterest.
  32. ^ "1989 F1 Canada Montreal Recardo Patrese Williams Renault on the grid - a photo on Flickriver".
  33. ^ "Riccardo Patrese (Great Britain 1989)". DeviantArt.
  34. ^ "Barclay Team EJR". 12 June 2017.
  35. ^ "Team Barclay EJR F3000 1991 - Damon Hill Vincenzo Sospiri - Official Poster - SOLD".
  36. ^ "Barclay Cigarettes Advertising Decal - Indy Racing Car F3000 - eBay". eBay.
  37. ^ "Barclays".
  38. ^ "Brands".