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Natural American Spirit (NAS) is a premium cigarette brand that is manufactured by Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company (SFNTC), which has been a subsidiary of Reynolds American (RAI) since 2002. NAS’s marketing strategy has included the use of descriptors such as ‘natural’, ‘organic’ and ‘additive-free’ and nature-related imagery,1 which have been shown to mislead consumers to believe that NAS is less harmful than other cigarette brands.2 3 The NAS marketing strategy has been successful, as NAS is one of the only major cigarette brands that increased its market share in the USA over the past two decades, amidst overall population-level declines in cigarette smoking.4–6
The Tobacco Control Act of 2009 banned tobacco companies from making reduced harm claims, such as describing their products as ‘light’ or ‘mild’, without submitting a modified risk tobacco product application and obtaining an order from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to make such claims. In 2015, FDA sent a warning letter to RAI/SFNTC for using descriptors in NAS’s labelling or advertising that communicated that ‘(1) the product presents a lower risk of tobacco-related disease or is less harmful than one or more other commercially marketed tobacco products; (2) the product or its smoke contains a reduced level of a substance or presents a reduced exposure to a substance or (3) the product or its smoke does not contain or is free of a substance’, without an …
Contributors OG conceived the paper. All authors led the writing and editing of the paper.
Funding This work was supported in part by NCI and FDA Centre for Tobacco Products (CTP) under U54CA229973 and the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey under P30CA07270-5931.
Disclaimer The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of NCI or FDA.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.