Context: Internal industry documents may shed light on how cigarettes are designed to promote youth smoking.
Objective: To determine changes in the design of Camel cigarettes in the period surrounding the "Smooth Character" advertising campaign and to assess the impact of these changes on youth smoking.
Data sources: Internal documents made available through the document website maintained by RJ Reynolds, manufacturer of Camel cigarettes.
Study selection: Electronic searches using keywords to identify relevant data.
Data extraction: A web based index search of documents targeting "smoothness" or "harshness" and "younger adult smokers" ("YAS") or "first usual brand younger adult smokers" ("FUBYAS") in the 10 year period surrounding the introduction of the "Smooth Character" campaign was used to identify Camel related product design research projects. A snowball methodology was used: initial documents were identified by focusing on key words, codes, researchers, committees, meetings, and gaps in overall chronology; a second set of documents was culled from these initial documents, and so on.
Data synthesis: Product design research led to the introduction of redesigned Camel cigarettes targeted to younger adult males coinciding with the "Smooth Character" campaign. Further refinements in Camel cigarettes during the following five year period continued to emphasise the smoothness of the cigarette, utilising additives and blends which reduced throat irritation but increased or retained nicotine impact.
Conclusions: Industry competition for market share among younger adult smokers may have contributed to the reversal of a decline in youth smoking rates during the late 1980s through development of products which were more appealing to youth smokers and which aided in initiation by reducing harshness and irritation.