Decline of Coolness Segment Among White FUBYAS

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

This R.J. Reynolds document laments "The Decline of the Coolness Segment Among White FUBYAS."

A "segment" is a group of consumers who purchase and smoke a particular brand of cigarettes; For example, Marlboro and Camel constitute the "virile segment," Misty and Virginia Slims are the "feminine segment." The "Coolness segment" represents, among other things, the "lighter," or less intensely-flavored cigarettes that make good "starter brands" for young people. The segment also includes mentholated cigarettes. They are often advertised with "cool" green colors, waterfalls, flowing water, clear skies, snow-capped mountains, etc. The acronym FUBYAS is RJR's term for young people, and stands for for First Usual Brand Younger Adult Smokers.

This document links the decline in sales of RJR's SALEM brand (their "coolness" cigarette) in part to the brand's "strong, negative association with Blacks." This in turn leads to speculation that the problems with sales may have started with school integration. RJR also links the decline in sales of this brand to a lessening of peer pressure to smoke the brand. Since the industry claims that they don't want young people to smoke, you would think they would be overjoyed by a decline in peer pressure to smoke. Instead, this document shows the opposite--that they rely on peer pressure to sell cigarettes, and consider it a negative when peer pressure to smoke their brand subsides.[1]

Quotes from the document


The findings of the Younger Adult Smoker Program show the Coolness segment to be in severe long-term decline among white younger adult smokers.

Given the importance of younger adult smokers to the long-term vitality of any segment--and SALEM's dependence of white younger adult smokers -- it is essential for RJR to identify the reasons behind the Coolness segment's declining appeal.


..The hypotheses listed below have been suggested as causes of the problem...

For certain/many white YAS [Younger Adult Smokers],

  • Coolness brands are strongly and negatively associated with Blacks
  • Kool and Newport are associated with Blacks, and SALEM is not, but SALEM is not a viable YAS alternative for other reasons.
  • Q. There is evidence that the decline is linked in time to school integration. Does a more complete analysis bear this out?

... In geographic areas with very small black population, Kool lost favor for some unknown reason (or perhaps even here because of association with Blacks). White FUBYAS were forced to turn away from the segment because no other Coolness brand was viable to them.
... If we assume that in years past, peer pressure to smoke resulted in adoption of easier-to-take Coolness brands among many FUBYAS, then perhaps the lessening of peer pressure to smoke in more recent years has disproportionately affected Coolness brands.


  1. R.J. Reynolds Decline of Coolness Segment Among White FUBYAS Report. November 9, 1984. Bates No. 507545628/5629