R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. Research & Development Creativity Workshop. September 9, 10, 1992

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

This worrisome and amusing R.J. Reynolds document is a compilation of consumer responses to questions about what smokers like and don't like about smoking, and what features they would like to see in cigarettes in the future. The questions were asked as part of market research to help develop new products consumers wanted.

Among the more worrisome items are the comments that reveal the extreme fire hazards cigarettes pose in everyday practice. When asked to identify problems with cigarettes, respondents' comments included:

"If sparks drop off, they should go out immediately rather than burn holes in your clothes,"


"Want cigarettes that will go out when sitting in an ashtray."

When asked about their frustrations with cigarettes, comments included:

"I have to hold the cigarette away from myself so the fire doesn't fall on my clothes," and
"Holes burned in pants."

When participants were asked to list "situations when you most enjoy cigarettes," one response was: "Lying in bed."

One person said, "I want a cigarette that puts itself out. It wouldn't be a fire hazard in bed."

Such comments point to the fire hazard cigarettes pose.

Ironically, to the question "When do you least enjoy cigarettes?" a respondent replied "When I have money problems." But to the question of "When do you smoke the most?" came the response "[When I have] money problems."

When asked how they could make a cigarette that doesn't bother non-smokers, participants' ideas included "Make passive smoke enjoyable and beneficial for everyone to breathe--like a medicated vaporizer," "Provide smokers with gas masks," and "Give non-smokers names to the mob."

To the question, "How to make a cigarette that 'hibernates' when you put it down"? a respondent stated, "Hire a guy with a squirt gun to follow you around." Another more practical smoker suggested leaving out the additives that keep a cigarette burning.

Participants repeatedly requested information on what is in cigarettes and how they are made "so I'll worry less." Other frequent requests were for cigarettes that go out on their own, cigarettes that don't stain teeth, don't stink in an ashtray, don't annoy others, etc.

With regard to future products, smokers were very imaginative, but their ideas reveal a conceptual disconnect between how much they enjoy taking nicotine, and yet how much they dislike smoking cigarettes:

"Something like an insulin pump that is computer controlled to give you the feeling of smoking on a programmed schedule."
"Like the movie 'Total Recall'--a way to make you think you just smoked a cigarette, but you didn't. All you have is the memory of enjoying a cigarette."
"...little chambers is mass-transit vehicles where you can go inside and breathe smoke without even lighting a cigarette,"


"Suck smoke from special tubes at the bar and do without individual cigarettes."

Quotes from the document

Product Ideas and Problem Identification

Note: The following ideas, thoughts and problems are listed as they [described] by participants in the groups. Particular care was taken during the group discussion not to "lead" or "focus" participants. Good judgment should be used to guide interpretation and application of the ideas and findings.

Product Ideas and Problem Identification

Window on pack so you can tell when only one or two cigarettes remain in the pack.
Make "boxes" quieter so the last few cigarettes aren't so noisy when they rattle around.
Tighter packed tobaccos.
A filter that disappears when the cigarette is put out.
An instant cigarette -- just add water and they puff up -- saves space.
Air freshener in cigarettes so your car doesn't stink.
Take the additives out of cigarettes -- organic tobacco is richer and sweeter.
A way to close a soft pack so the cigarettes don't fall out - resealable soft pack.
Would like to see more endorsement of motor sports.
A way to relieve the irritation of non-smokers so I can smoke at my desk.
A cigarette that "hibernates" when you put it down. Let it go out without smelling bad -- I'll relight it.
Especially in dry climates, the cello outer wrap gets static electricity and sticks to your hands. The new Winston "wrap" still does it.
If sparks drop off, they should go out immediately rather than burn holes in your clothes.
Recyclable butts.
Want a more full-bodied flavor -- more aromatic, active smoke, no residual.
More tobacco flavor -- less additives to enhance flavor.
Ashtrays that either disintegrate or destroy butts.
Cigarettes that are smokeless for the environment, but the smoker still gets to enjoy smoke.
Advanced filter design.
Cigarettes that are more acceptable for society without violating anyone's rights.
Cigarettes that keep the smoking sensation - the draw, the inhaling, the feel -- but diminish or eliminate smoke and chemical substances.
To make my cigarettes better, take out the additives.
Vending machines with individual code numbers that dispense single cigarettes.
Smokers will be able to smoke anywhere again.
Want more cigarettes per pack: Reduce the smell of stale, lingering, clinging smoke.
I wish cigarettes didn't smell so bad when smoldering in an ashtray.
Hate the smell of stale ashtrays.
Don't like the residual smell of cigarettes in car, on clothes or in my hair.
Why can't they sell all cigarettes at generic prices?
I wish we could get someone to go to battle for smokers on where we can smoke.
Hate the aftertaste and feeling of "shoe-leather" tongue in the morning from smoking.
Cigarettes stain teeth.
Situations when you most enjoy cigarettes:
After dinner. When watching TV. After a meal. Lying in bed. To cap off total satisfaction. After sex. In the morning with coffee. Relaxing outdoors. Mellow moments. Drinking beer. When working on a project at my desk.
Situations when you least enjoy cigarettes:
In traffic. When stressed by other people, particularly several people at once. When there are no-smoking signs staring me in the face. When I have money problems. When I smoke too much. When an ash burns a hole in my clothes. When I'm sad or angry. When the smoke burns my eyes and particularly when I am wearing contact lenses. When non-smokers are watching or glaring or complaining.

Times when you smoke the most:

Smoke when angry or frustrated.
In traffic.
Money problems.
Frustrations with cigarettes:
Smoke in the eyes hurts. Nagging non-smoking spouse. When you smoke your last cigarette and don't have any more. Harassment from the non-smoking rabble. Holes burned in pants. Filled-up ashtrays. Emptying the ashtray in my car, Smelly ashtrays. "No Smoking" signs. Odor of smoke Stains on your fingers. Expense of cigarettes. Smell on clothes and in the car. I have to hold the cigarette away from myself so the fire doesn't fall on my clothes. Women who smoke are always cleaning their purses and holding them upside down to clean out the spilled tobacco. Embarrassed about smoking because people who don't smoke say kissing them is like kissing the bottom of an ashtray.[1]

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  1. M.F. Dube, R.J. Reynolds, Delta Research, J.E. Fay R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. Research & Development Creativity Workshop September 9,10, 1992 Report. September 9, 1992. 259 pp. Bates No. 512217993/8251