Death (cigarette)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Death cigarettes

Death was a brand of cigarettes sold by the Enlightened Tobacco Company in the United Kingdom from 1991 to 1999.[1][2]

Description and history[edit]

Entrepreneur BJ Cunningham[3] invested his life savings to create and market an additive-free smoking product called Death.[4] He founded the Enlightened Tobacco Company in 1991.[2] Its product disclosed its hazardous nature by prominently displaying skull and crossbones on its outer package[4] and came in two varieties; Death, and Death Lights.[5] The product was marketed to the “young underground punk rock” consumer market.[4] The products were sold for a time via mail order from Luxembourg to avoid the United Kingdom's excise tax, however after some time the Customs and Excise department disallowed this sales channel.[6]

The company[edit]

The company's plans to offer sponsorship to the Pacific Racing F1 in 1994 fell through after Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna were killed at the San Marino Grand Prix.[7] That year the company was turned down by the "top five poster contractors" who would not provide the company with permission to use their sites because of its "blunt" marketing message and a pending parliamentary bill restricting tobacco advertising.[8]

The company "was losing a million pounds per year" and could not afford a massive advertising campaign.[3] The firms trademark rights were successfully challenged by an alcohol company called Black Death.[4] The impending lawsuit barred the sale of Death cigarettes and the company closed down.[4]


  1. ^ Unknown. "Death Cigarettes". Medical Dictionary. Retrieved January 2, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Murray, Rosey (January 2, 2004). The Telegraph Retrieved January 2, 2014.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ a b John O'Shaughnessy; Nicholas Jackson O'Shaughnessy; Nicholas O'Shaughnessy (2004). Persusuaion In Advertising. New York, New York: Routledge. pp. 114–115. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Klein Trial Lawyers (October 25, 2008). "THE DEATH CIGARETTE TRADEMARK INFRINGEMENT LITIGATION CASE". Klein Trial Lawyers. Archived from the original on January 3, 2014. Retrieved January 2, 2014. 
  5. ^ Jerome E. Bickenbach; Jacqueline M. Davies (1997). Good Reasons for Better Arguments. Broadview Press. p. 88. 
  6. ^ Chris Harrald; Fletcher Watkins (2010). The Cigarette Book. New York, New York: Sky Horse Publishing. 
  7. ^ "Pacific: Full Profile". Formula One Rejects. 15 September 2004. Retrieved 14 February 2010. 
  8. ^ Williams, Rhys (May 13, 1994). "Poster ban on Death cigarettes". The Independent. Retrieved January 2, 2014. 

External links[edit]