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Tobacco Brand Preferences

Cigarettes

Market Share Information

  • According to 2017 sales data, Marlboro is the most popular cigarette brand in the United States, with sales greater than the next seven 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
2017 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 40%
Newport 14%
Camel (filter only) 8%
Pall Mall Box 7%
Maverick 2%
Santa Fe 2%
Winston 2%
Kool 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 2016—3
    • 99.7% were filtered
    • 35.0% 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, prohibits use of terms like “light,” “low,” and “mild” on tobacco product labels.7

Other Tobacco Products

Cigars

According to 2015 sales data, Swisher Little is the most popular brand of cigars in the United States, with sales substantially greater than any little cigar competitor and the leading large cigars and cigarillos competitors.8

2015 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 60%
Swisher Sweets Large cigars and cigarillos 16%
Black & Mild Large cigars and cigarillos 11%
Garcia y Vega Large cigars and cigarillos 5%
White Owl Large cigars and cigarillos 5%

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

2011 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 Moist plug tobacco 52%
Day’s Work Plug tobacco 45%
Red Man Plug Moist plug tobacco 36%
Grizzly Moist snuff and fine cut tobacco 26%
Copenhagen Moist snuff and fine cut tobacco 25%
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 2017 Cigarette Industry. Richmond (VA): John C. Maxwell, Jr., 2018 [cited 2018 Jul 26].
  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 2017 Nov 3].
  3. Federal Trade Commission. Federal Trade Commission Cigarette Report for 2016. [PDF–589 KB] Washington: Federal Trade Commission, 2018 [accessed 2018 Jul 26].
  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 2017 Nov 3].
  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 2017 Nov 3].
  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 2017 Nov 3].
  7. Food and Drug Administration. Tobacco Control Act. Washington: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration 2015 [accessed 2017 Nov 3].
  8. Maxwell JC. The Maxwell Report: Cigar Industry in 2015. Richmond (VA): John C. Maxwell, Jr., 2016 [cited 2018 Jul 26].
  9. Maxwell JC. The Maxwell Report: The Smokeless Tobacco Industry in 2011. Richmond (VA): John C. Maxwell, Jr., 2012 [cited 2017 Nov 3].

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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