Natural American Spirit
|Produced by||Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company|
Natural American Spirit (often referred to as American Spirits) is an American brand of cigarettes and other tobacco products, currently owned by Reynolds American and manufactured by the Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company.
The company was founded in 1982 by Bill Drake, author of The Cultivators Handbook of Natural Tobacco, Robert Marion, Chris Webster, and Eb Wicks, a plumbing contractor who took out a loan to finance the startup. In January 2002 the company was acquired by Reynolds American and is now a wholly owned independent subsidiary of Reynolds American, which is in turn 42% owned by British American Tobacco. Japan Tobacco announced in September 2015 that it acquired the right to sell Natural American Spirit products in markets outside the United States.
The claim of additive free cigarettes
Natural American Spirit products are "100% Additive-Free Tobacco", though they include the standard generic Surgeon General tobacco warning on the packs in accordance with federal regulation standards, which currently states "no additives in our tobacco does NOT mean a safer cigarette". This was part of an FTC ruling in 2000 and agreement resulting from allegations that the advertisement of additive-free cigarettes made consumers feel that the product might be less addictive or safer than regular cigarettes. Research by US and German government health agencies found significant levels of nitrates in some types of pure additive-free tobacco and its smoke.
California Attorney General Jerry Brown announced on March 1, 2010, that his office has secured an agreement with Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company, Inc., the manufacturer of American Spirit tobacco products, that requires the company to clearly disclose that its organic tobacco is "no safer or healthier" than other tobacco products. Attorneys General from 32 other states and the District of Columbia signed onto the agreement: Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Lawsuit prohibits the use of "Natural" in NAS
In March 2017, it was reported that Reynolds American Inc. and its Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company Inc. segment would remove the terms "natural" and "additive-free" from its controversial Natural American Spirit cigarette product labeling and related advertising and promotional materials, as part of a new agreement with the Food and Drug Administration.
The agreement, dated January 19 2017 and disclosed in a public filing in a class-action lawsuit, doesn’t cover the product’s "organic" label, nor does it affect the brand name, despite the other restrictions on the term "natural". Advocates say the agreement, disclosed by Reynolds in a February 23 2017 filing in the U.S. District Court in New Mexico, doesn't go far enough to protect consumers. "Our research shows that a majority of Natural American Spirit smokers incorrectly believe that their cigarettes are safer than other cigarettes, due to its claims of "natural" and "organic". said Robin Koval, chief executive officer and president of the antismoking nonprofit Truth Initiative, which isn't involved in the lawsuit, adding that the "organic" claim is perhaps most influential to smokers. "This agreement does little to address those widespread and highly dangerous misperceptions". she said.
Santa Fe "does not admit any liability or wrongdoing" as part of the FDA agreement, which gave it seven months to implement the changes.
Natural American Spirit offers various types of select filter cigarettes which are color coded to denote the nicotine and tar content. The nicotine and tar contents which are released are altered by using different filters and cigarette paper. American Spirit also has a Perique Blend Filter cigarette, which contains 10% Perique tobacco, and an Organic Filter cigarette, which contains organic tobacco.
Natural American Spirit also offers several "Roll Your Own" tobaccos in tins and pouches.
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