Newport (cigarette)

Newport is an American brand of menthol cigarettes, currently owned and manufactured by the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. The brand was originally named for the seaport of Newport, Rhode Island.[1] It is the best-selling brand of menthols in the world.[1]

Product typeMenthol cigarette
OwnerR.J. Reynolds Tobacco
CountryUnited States
Introduced1957 (1957)
MarketsSee Markets
Previous ownersLorillard Tobacco Company


Newport was originally launched in 1957 by the Lorillard Tobacco Company. The cigarette originated within Ireland and was introduced to the culture mostly for the male drinkers of the time. The spinnaker present on all packs since the late 1950s is meant to capitalize on the association with sailing.

Newport Cigarettes are traditionally shipped via barge from the factory in Newport, Kentucky down the Ohio River and out to the rest of the country.

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 targeted African Americans in urban areas. In two years, Newport became the fifth most popular cigarette on the market.[2] Because of this, 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 has been the second best selling cigarette brand in the United States since 1996, trailing only Altria's Marlboro brand.[3]

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.[4] 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%.[5]

On July 15, 2014 Reynolds American offered to buy the Lorillard tobacco company for $27.4 billion.[6] 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.[7]

Newports comprise about 35 percent of menthol cigarette sales in the U.S.[8] It has been the most popular mentholated cigarette brand sold in the United States since 1993.[3]

Lorillard advertised Newport in various ways. TV advertisements were created in the 1960s and 1970s to promote the brand.[9]

Once TV adverts were banned in the United States, Lorillard advertised the brand through poster advertisements. The Newport ads in this theme range from 1980 to present day and feature the "Newport Pleasure" or "Alive with Pleasure" campaign slogans. The latter slogan provides the viewer with a subconscious health claim. Additionally, the pleasure aspect of these campaigns weighs an important part of youth targeting, portraying Newports as fun and enjoyable and, subconsciously, sexy and sexual.[10]


Newport is mainly sold in the United States, but also was or still is sold in Antigua British Virgin Islands, Luxembourg, Finland and Singapore.[11][12][13]


Lorillard handing out free cigarettes to children and babies

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.[14] Evidence showed that the deceased plaintiff died of lung cancer, but that she started smoking at age nine after receiving free Newport cigarettes near the black playground in Boston.[15][16] The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court upheld $35 million of damages against Lorillard Tobacco Company while reversing other issues of damages.[17]

Newport and targeting of African-Americans

In the 1960s, Lorillard specifically targeted African Americans to sell Newport cigarettes.

Lorillard increased its African American market budget by 87% over 1968 due to increased efforts marketing its menthol cigarette, Newport, to the African American market. Government surveys in 2011 revealed that menthol cigarettes dominated 30% of the overall market, and over 80% of black smokers prefer menthol as opposed to 22% of non-Hispanic white smokers.[18] In 2016, it was reported that Newport was the brand of choice for nearly 60% of black smokers.[19][20]

Newport and targeting teenagers

In September of 2016, it was reported that R.J. Reynolds was specifically targeting black teenagers and young adults to sell Newport cigarettes.

Reynolds American Inc., the parent firm that owns Newport, was pushing the brand on people in their 20s — with pop-ups at music festivals like Las Vegas' Electric Daisy Carnival, a notorious destination for teen-partiers, which was recently pressured to raise its age requirements. Dubbed "Newport Pleasure Lounges", the air-conditioned party trucks were replete with games like digital darts. Newports could be purchased in these lounges for $1 per pack. Reynolds had set aside $50 million for such initiatives in 2016.[19][21]

A study from the Stanford University School of Medicine had discovered that menthol cigarette manufacturers created very direct marketing campaigns designed to attract young black smokers. Far from being a catchall effort, Reuters says these campaigns were concerted attacks on African-American teens: "A recent analysis of the data found school neighborhoods were increasingly likely to have lower prices and more advertising for Newport cigarettes as the proportion of African-American students rose. The same was true of neighborhoods with higher proportions of children aged 10 to 17."[22]

Newport, Nike, and plagiarism

In May 2010, a report was written where the popular sport shoe company Nike copied the Swoosh logo from Newport. The comparison was made, because Newport was introduced in 1957 and used a logo they call the "spinnaker", while Nike was formed on January 25, 1964 as Blue Ribbon Sports by Bill Bowerman and Philip Knight, and officially became Nike, Inc. in 1978. The Nike swoosh is a logo design created in 1971 by Carolyn Davidson, over a decade after Newport cigarettes were launched.

Despite some claims, no specific evidence has ever been found that Nike stole the logo from Newport.[23][24]

In 2006, Lorillard and Nike sued graphic designer Ari Saal Forman after he released his Ari Menthol 10s shoes, which combined the design of the Nike Air Force 1 with Newport's spinnaker and colors. According to Forman, the shoes were "dedicated to the two brands who have taken the most and given the least." As a result of the lawsuit, Forman is not legally allowed to own a pair of Menthol 10s.[25][26]

Newport marijuana cigarettes

In December 2016, it was reported that R.J. Reynolds would start selling marijuana cigarettes called "Newport Nirvana".

However, Newport did not develop marijuana cigarettes which would be available for purchase in 2017. In November 2016, a site called TMZWorldNews published an article reporting that the cigarette brand Newport planned to introduce marijuana cigarettes dubbed the "Newport Nirvana". However, Snopes reported that TMZWorldNews is a fake news website appropriating the combined brandings of popular gossip site TMZ and the national newscast ABC World News Tonight. None included a disclaimer warning readers its content consisted entirely of falsehoods.[27][28]


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 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 Platinum Blue
  • Newport Platinum Blue 100s
  • Newport Platinum Silver
  • Newport Platinum Silver 100s

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

In July 2017, R.J. Reynolds announced they would introduce new flavors called Newport Platinum. It would be released in two variants: Newport Platinum (King Size and 100s) and Newport Platinum Blue (also King Size and 100s).[29][30]

See also


  1. "What We Make". R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. Retrieved 3 November 2018.
  2. IDEAS & TRENDS; Understanding the Dream World of Cigarette Ads. The New York Times. 24 April 1988.
  3. "What We Make - R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company".
  4. Newport cigarettes gain popularity among teens. Biotech Week. 25 Feb. 2004.
  5. writer, Martin Finucane, Associated Press. "Newport cigarettes are nicotine leaders".
  6. "Tobacco majors Lorillard and Reynolds American near merger". CNBC. Reuters. 3 July 2014. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  7. "It's official: $27.4B Reynolds-Lorillard merger complete". Triad Business Journal. 12 June 2015. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  8. Newport cigarette maker Lorillard's CEO Martin Orlowsky talks about FDA's menthol study. The Associated Press. 8 Feb. 2010.
  9. Classic Commercials (9 March 2014). "10 Classic Retro Newport Cigarettes Commercials" via YouTube.
  10. "Stanford Research into the Impact of Tobacco Advertising".
  11. "BrandNewport - Cigarettes Pedia".
  12. "Newport".
  13. "Brands".
  14. Cigarette Suit Says Maker Gave Samples To Children. The New York Times. 27 June 2004.
  15. Jury is asked to find tobacco company liable in woman's death. 6 December 2010.
  16. Search For Justice: The Marie Evans Story. Archived 2012-10-19 at the Wayback Machine Youth 2 Youth. 6 December 2010.
  17. SJC overturns part of award in tobacco case. Orders retrial on $81m in punitive damages. Boston Globe. 11 June 2013.
  18. "Stanford Research into the Impact of Tobacco Advertising".
  19. Norman, Natasha (September 14, 2018). "Is marketing Newports to youth a social justice issue?". Mic.
  20. "Why Big Tobacco Targeted Blacks With Ads for Menthol Cigarettes".
  21. Mickle, Tripp; Valentino-DeVries, Jennifer (14 September 2016). "Newport's 'Pleasure Lounge' Aims to Ignite Cigarettes Sales" via
  22. "Study: Newport Marketed Cigarettes Directly to Black Kids".
  23. "Nike Swoosh Logo vs Newport Cigarettes Swoosh Logo - The Logo Smith". 9 May 2010.
  24. "Nike and Newport (Swoosh and Spinnaker) - BEACH". 25 November 2011.
  25. "The Bootleg Nikes That Got Banned by Big Tobacco". Vice Media. October 20, 2018. Retrieved December 9, 2018.
  26. "Ari Saal Forman Explains Why the Menthol 10s Were Banned by Big Tobacco". Wear Testers. October 19, 2018. Retrieved December 9, 2018.
  27. "FACT CHECK: Newport Introduces Marijuana Cigarettes on Sale Worldwide". 8 December 2016.
  28. "Newport Developed Marijuana Cigarettes Available For Purchase In 2017 Is A Hoax".
  29. "New Newport". 10 July 2017.
  30. "Newport Platinum Cigarettes - Convenience Store News".
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