RJ Reynolds Problem Laboratory

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

RJ Reynolds Problem Laboratory

In this weird R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company (RJR) "Problem Lab" document, employees were asked to brainstorm about ways to "make smokers feel good about smoking," alleviate smoker guilt, improve the social acceptability of smoking, "capitalize on mood enhancement," enhance new markets and other tasks.

When challenged to "Identify a cigarette which better alleviates negative feelings and enhances positive feelings [about smoking]," respondents came up with ideas like, "How to have a crystal cocaine rock filter," "How to have a pulsating wet end filter...[a] 'Fish Lips' filter," and "How to have a 5 foot long cigarette (at the end -- a feeling of accomplishment)."

When asked to "Develop ways to capitalize on mood enhancement," employees said, "How to get a cigarette that gives same kick as marijuana," "How to keep the 'high' going...," "How to have a cig that makes my alcohol, beer taste better," and the opposite, "How to have a cig that sobers me up," and, inventively, "How to have a cig that delivers birth control agent and sexual stimulant at the same time."

When asked to "Develop ideas that eliminate or alleviate taste burn/buildup factor," respondents produced ideas like "How to have a cig where paper impregnated with Tic Tacs," "How to have the smoke deposit a wax to mouth and nasal passages so tar and nicotine don't adhere," "How to have a pre-tooth-washing cig--heat or smoke would act as dirt loosener," and "How to have a cig that whenever you buy a pack you get a percentage of stock of RJR."

When asked for cigarette ideas to help smokers overcome concerns about the social acceptability of smoking, employees came up with,

"Wish cig when I smoke forms a halo around my head," "Wish a kazoo filter," "Wish cig that repels anti-smokers," "How to have a brand of cigs [that] for every pack or carton sold - donate 5 cents to United Way."

While these ideas are undeniably off the wall, some are eerily close to products that have actually emerged from the tobacco companies. The idea, "How to make a cig that's not a cig...simulates smoking but has no fire so would have no harshness, may only appear to burn," brings to mind cigarette brands that have actually been produced to do just this, like Premier, Accord, Eclipse, and, in 2009, e-cigarettes (electronic cigarettes).

Other interesting ideas include things like "How to get the Smurf endorsement," and "How to get Miss Piggy to smoke."

Company/Source: R.J. Reynolds
Document Date: 30 September 1982
Length: 49 pages
Bates No.: 502788460/8508
URL: http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/zuf78d00