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Tobacco Executive Quotes

Real Quotes from Tobacco Companies

What tobacco companies say about you! In their own words:

“We don’t smoke that s_ _ _. We just sell it. We reserve the right to smoke for the young, the poor, the black and stupid.”

R.J. Reynolds executive’s reply when asked why he didn’t smoke according to Dave Goerlitz, lead Winston model for seven years for R.J. Reynolds.] Giovanni, J, “Come to Cancer Country; USA; Focus,” The Times of London, August 2, 1992.

“They got lips? We want them.”

This was the answer given to Terrence Sullivan, sales representative for R.J. Reynolds, when he asked the company which young people they were targeting — junior high kids or even younger? R.J. Reynolds, 1990

 “[T]he base of our business is the high school student.”

Lorillard, Memo from executive TL Achey to former Lorillard President Curtis Judge re Newport brand, August 30, 1978, Bates No. TINY0003062.

 “Younger adult smokers are the only source of replacement smokers… If younger adults turn away from smoking, the industry must decline.”

R.J. Reynolds, February 29, 1984

 “Long after adolescent preoccupation with self-image has subsided, the cigarette will even preempt food in times of scarcity on the smoker’s priority list.”

November 26, 1969 presentation to the PM Board of Directors, “Smoker Psychology Research.” Bates No. 1000273741.

 “Today’s teenager is tomorrow’s potential regular customer, and the overwhelming majority of smokers first begin to smoke while still in their teens… The smoking patterns of teenagers are particularly important to Philip Morris.”

Philip Morris, Special Report, “Young Smokers: Prevalence, Trends, Implications, and Related Demographic Trends,” March 31, 1981, Bates No. 1000390803.

“The fragile, developing self-image of the young person needs all the support and enhancement it can get. Smoking may appear to enhance that self-image.”

1973 RJR draft paper, “Some Thoughts About New Brands of Cigarettes For the Youth Market.” Bates No 502987357 -7368.

“Cherry Skoal is for somebody who likes the taste of candy, if you know what I’m saying.”

Freedman, A, “Juiced up: How a tobacco giant doctors snuff brands to boost their ‘kick,’” Wall Street Journal, October 26, 1994 [quoting former UST sales representative].

Download Fact Sheet: Tobacco Executive Quotes




In 1998, these internal documents were made public during a legal settlement. Since then, tobacco companies have been much more careful about what they put into writing.