Tobacco industry consumer research on smokeless tobacco users and product development

Am J Public Health. 2010 Jan;100(1):78-87. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2008.152603.


Since 2006, RJ Reynolds (RJR) and Philip Morris have both introduced new smokeless "snus" tobacco products. We analyzed previously secret tobacco industry documents describing the history of RJR and Philip Morris's consumer research, smokeless product development, and marketing strategies. We found that RJR had invested in smokeless research, development, and marketing since 1968. RJR first targeted low-income males through sampling and sponsorship at fishing, rodeo, and baseball events, and through advertising portraying the user as "hard working." In the early 1990s, Philip Morris and RJR hoped to attract more urban, female smokeless users. The current "snus" campaigns appear to appeal to these targeted consumers and smokers in smoke-free environments. These efforts may expand the tobacco market and undermine smoking cessation.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marketing / history*
  • Marketing / methods
  • Marketing / trends
  • Social Environment
  • Tobacco Industry / history*
  • Tobacco, Smokeless / history*
  • United States