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Tobacco Brand Preferences


Cigarettes

Market Share Information

  • According to 2014 sales data, Marlboro is the most popular cigarette brand in the United States, with sales greater than the next four leading competitors combined.1
  • The three most heavily advertised brands—Marlboro, Newport, and Camel—continue to be the preferred brands of cigarettes smoked by young people.2
Market Shares for Leading
Cigarette Brands1
Brand Market %

NOTE: Market share—or market percentage—is defined as the percentage of total sales in the United States.

Marlboro 41%
Newport 12%
Camel 8%
Pall Mall Box 8%
Pyramid 2%

Industry Marketing Practices

Tobacco industry marketing practices can influence the brands that certain groups prefer. For example:2

  • The packaging and design of certain cigarette brands appeal to adolescents and young adults.
  • Historically, menthol cigarettes have been targeted heavily toward certain racial/ethnic groups, especially African Americans.
    • Among African American adult, adolescent, and young adult cigarette smokers, the most popular brands are all mentholated.
  • Cigarettes with brand names containing words such as “thins” and “slims” have been manufactured to be longer and slimmer than traditional cigarettes to appeal directly to women—e.g., Virginia Slims and Capri brands.

Brand Characteristics

  • Of all the cigarettes sold in the United States in 2012—3
    • 99.7% were filtered
    • 31.0% were mentholated brands
  • Use of mentholated brands varies widely by race/ethnicity. The percentage of individuals aged 12 years or older who reported using mentholated brands in 2010 was:4
    • 19.1% Black
    •   3.6% Asian
    •   7.8% Hispanic
    •   6.5% White
  • Before 2010, manufacturers were allowed to label cigarettes as “light” or “ultra light” if they delivered less than 15 mg of tar when measured by an automated smoking machine.5
    • Such labeling allowed tobacco companies to deliberately misrepresent “light” cigarettes as being less harmful and an acceptable alternative to quitting smoking.6
    • The 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, however, prohibited use of terms like "light," "low," and "mild" on tobacco product labels.7
  • Other Tobacco Products

    Cigars

    According to 2014 sales data, Swisher Little is the most popular brand of cigars in the United States, with sales substantially greater than the leading little cigar competitor and the leading large cigars and cigarillos competitors.8

    Market Shares for Leading
    Cigar Brands8
    Brand Category Market %

    NOTE: Market share—or market percentage—is defined as the percentage of total sales in the United States.

    Swisher Little Little cigars 64%
    Swisher Sweets Large cigars and cigarillos 12%
    Black & Mild Large cigars and cigarillos 10%
    White Owl Large cigars and cigarillos 5%
    Dutch Masters Large cigars and cigarillos 5%
    Winchester Little cigars 2%

    Smokeless Tobacco

    The U.S. smokeless tobacco industry grew by 1.7% from 2010 to 2011, increasing its sales from 122.6 million pounds to 124.6 million pounds. The greatest growth occurred in the moist snuff category.9

    Market Shares for Leading
    Smokeless Tobacco Brands9
    Brand Category Market %

    NOTE: Market share—or market percentage—is defined as the percentage of total sales in the United States.

    Levi Garrett Plug Plug tobacco 52%
    Day’s Work Plug tobacco 45%
    Red Man Plug Moist plug tobacco 36%
    Grizzly Moist snuff and fine cut tobacco 26%
    Garrett Dry snuff 24%
    Skoal Moist snuff and fine cut tobacco 24%
    Red Man Loose leaf tobacco 18%

    References

    1. Maxwell JC. The Maxwell Report: Year End & Fourth Quarter 2014 Cigarette Industry. Richmond (VA): John C. Maxwell, Jr., 2015 [cited 2015 Jul 22].
    2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2012 [accessed 2015 Jul 22].
    3. Federal Trade Commission. Federal Trade Commission Cigarette Report for 2012. [PDF–308 KB] Washington: Federal Trade Commission, 2015 [accessed 2015 Jul 22].
    4. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.The NSDUH Report: Recent Trends in Menthol Cigarette Use. Rockville (MD): Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Office of Applied Studies, 2011 [accessed 2015 Jul 22].
    5. National Cancer Institute. Risks Associated with Smoking Cigarettes with Low Machine-Measured Yields of Tar and Nicotine. Smoking and Tobacco Control Monograph 13. Bethesda (MD): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, 2001 [accessed 2015 Jul 22].
    6. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2014 [accessed 2015 Jul 22].
    7. Food and Drug Administration. Tobacco Control Act. Washington: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration 2015 [accessed 2015 Jul 22].
    8. Maxwell JC. The Maxwell Report: Cigar Industry in 2013. Richmond (VA): John C. Maxwell, Jr., 2013 [cited 2015 Jul 22].
    9. Maxwell JC. The Maxwell Report: The Smokeless Tobacco Industry in 2011. Richmond (VA): John C. Maxwell, Jr., 2012 [cited 2015 Jul 22].

    For Further Information

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
    Office on Smoking and Health
    E-mail: tobaccoinfo@cdc.gov
    Phone: 1-800-CDC-INFO

    Media Inquiries: Contact CDC's Office on Smoking and Health press line at 770-488-5493.

 


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