Newport, originally introduced in 1957 by the Lorillard Tobacco Company, is a brand of menthol cigarettes owned by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. Newports comprise about 35 percent of menthol cigarette sales in the U.S. Newports have gained a commanding share of the African-American market; a 2005 survey stated that 49.5% of all cigarette sales to African Americans were Newport cigarettes. Newport is now the second best selling cigarette brand in the United States, trailing only Altria's Marlboro brand. The Newport brand also includes a non-menthol cigarette introduced in the early 2000s.
The brand was originally named after the seaport of Newport, Rhode Island and the spinnaker present on all packs since the late 1950s is meant to capitalize on the association with sailing.The original Newport had a white filter and a hint of mint; both were gone in 1969 and thus the white filter was replaced by a standard filter. The Newport Classic full flavor cigarettes were promoted for many years as a cigarette that allows you to "Enjoy a full flavor menthol, without drowning out pure tobacco taste." In the mid-1980s, Newport began an advertising campaign that courted African Americans in urban areas. In two years, Newports became the fifth most popular cigarette on the market. A 2004 study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that the percentage of teen Newport smokers doubled between 1989 and 1996. Researcher Karen Gerlach indicated that Newports made the most significant progress with the Hispanic and White American teen markets in those years. A 1998 Massachusetts Department of Public Health report indicated that Newports alongside unfiltered Camel cigarettes contained the highest levels of nicotine in cigarettes on the market. In the following six years, Lorillard Tobacco increased the amount of nicotine in Newports by 10%.
Newport cigarettes come in several varieties: Full Flavor, Medium, and Lights. In the United States, in June 2010, "Medium" and "Lights" were re-branded into "Blue" and "Gold" respectively. On the box, the words "Menthol Box" for shorts and "Menthol Box 100s" for 100s were replaced simply with "Cigarettes". Each variety is sold in 85mm soft packs (king size), 80mm hard packs (box), and 100mm soft and hard packs. They are available in standard packs of 20 cigarettes, as well as the more unusual 25s, containing 25 cigarettes. Prior to the signing of the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement in the late 1990s, they were sold in packs of ten as well.
Due to the new FDA Tobacco Regulations, the terms "Full Flavor", "Medium", "Light", "Mild", and "Ultra Light" have been discontinued. New names for Newport Cigarettes are as follows:
- Newport Box (Full Flavor)
- Newport Box 100s (Full Flavor 100s)
- Newport Smooth Select (Full Flavor)
- Newport Smooth Select 100s (Full Flavor 100s)
- Newport Menthol Blue (Medium)
- Newport Menthol Blue 100s (Medium 100s)
- Newport Menthol Gold (Light)
- Newport Menthol Gold 100s (Light 100s)
- Newport Non-Menthol
- Newport Non-Menthol 100s
- Newport Non-Menthol Gold
- Newport Non-Menthol Gold 100s
- (Newport also made a test pack called Newport Ice. They were available in the mid to late 1990. Available in New Orleans and other southern cities; For a short time just to disappear.)**
Non-menthol Newports in Full Flavor and Lights were sold in United States during the mid to late 1990s, possibly as late as 2002; however they were discontinued until November 2010 in which they re-released them in order to keep up with the non-menthol cigarette smokers in America. The packs are identical in design to standard menthol Newports except the turquoise-colored area is red on the Full Flavors and mustard-yellow on the Lights. Newport Slim 120s (introduced 1998), Newport "Stripes", and Newport "M-Blend" were other varieties that have also been discontinued.
In some Latin American markets, such as tourist areas of the Dominican Republic, British American Tobacco has released some limited edition varieties and outer packagings including:
- Newport Silver (menthol ultra lights)
- Newport Freezing Point (10 & 20 count boxes)
- Newport Midnight Blast
Lawsuits and criticism
A lawsuit against the Lorillard Tobacco Company alleged that in the late 1960s, company vans were used to make regular trips to housing projects where free Newport cigarettes were given to children and babies. Evidence showed that the deceased plaintiff died of lung cancer, but that she started smoking at 9 years old after receiving free Newport cigarettes near the black playground. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court upheld $35 million of damages against Lorillard Tobacco Company while reversing other issues of damages.
Ownership by R.J. Reynolds
On July 15, 2014 Reynolds American offered to buy the Lorillard tobacco company for $27.4 billion. As a result of the completion of this merger on June 12, 2015, the Newport brand is now property of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. However, a legal notice filed July 29, 2015 said that Reynolds must get a county permit to make Newports at its Tobaccoville plant, so for 18 months ITG Brands will make Newports and Reynolds will make three brands it sold.
- List of additives in cigarettes
- List of cigarette smoke constituents
- Menthol cigarette
- Tobacco smoking
- Newport cigarette maker Lorillard's CEO Martin Orlowsky talks about FDA's menthol study. The Associated Press. 8 Feb. 2010.
- IDEAS & TRENDS; Understanding the Dream World of Cigarette Ads. The New York Times. 24 April 1988.
- Newport cigarettes gain popularity among teens. Biotech Week. 25 Feb. 2004.
- Cigarette Suit Says Maker Gave Samples To Children. The New York Times. 27 June 2004.
- Jury is asked to find tobacco company liable in woman's death. Boston.com. 6 December 2010.
- Search For Justice: The Marie Evans Story. Youth 2 Youth. 6 December 2010.
- SJC overturns part of award in tobacco case. Orders retrial on $81m in punitive damages. Boston Globe. 11 June 2013.
- "Tobacco majors Lorillard and Reynolds American near merger". CNBC. Reuters. 3 July 2014. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
- "It's official: $27.4B Reynolds-Lorillard merger complete". Triad Business Journal. 12 June 2015. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
- Craver, Richard (29 July 2015). "Reynolds needs air-quality permit for Newport". Winston-Salem Journal. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
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