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Not Even Big Tobacco Wants You to Smoke Anymore

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By now, we’re all pretty aware that smoking in public has been banned in virtually every facet. Sure, there are still a few places where you can light up and no one is going to ticket you for walking down the street with a cigarette in your mouth, but public venues are, for all intents and purposes, off limits to smokers who want to take a few drags.

No Smoking Sign

And while the crackdown for anti-smoking has reached broadly into the communal spaces that we all seem to share, there’s a few places that haven’t quite yet banned smoking indoors. One such place is the headquarters of R.J. Reynolds, located in Richmond, Virginia… until last week, that is.

While the cigarette manufacturer has allowed smoking in its offices, board rooms, hallways and other open areas up until this point, the company officially announced last week that it would no longer allow smoking indoors. Moving forward, the company will build specially designated areas for its smoking employees, out of the range of those now smokeless areas.

Why change now?

If smoking bans and other repercussive actions have kept smoking out of public areas for years, why is R.J. Reynolds just hopping on the no smoking bandwagon now? And, more importantly, what kind of message does this send? 

The company cites its transition to a non smoking atmosphere as a necessity to keep up to date with current smoking laws and trends:

"We believe it's the right thing to do and the right time to do it because updating our tobacco use policies will better accommodate both non-smokers and smokers who work in and visit our facilities," said David Howard, Representative for R.J. Reynolds. "We're just better aligning our tobacco use policies with the realities of what you're seeing in society today."

And while PR-speak seems to suggest that R.J. Reynolds is simply keeping up with the times, one could read into the banning of cigarettes on the premises as a way of recognizing the harm that secondhand smoke has been proven to cause.

Not all it seems

One tidbit of information that stands out in particular in this scenario is the concession of smoking alternatives that will still be permitted within the cigarette manufacturer’s facilities. Electronic cigarettes—including R.J. Reynolds own Vuse ecigarette—moist snuff and snus will be welcomed into the workplace as replacements to traditional analog cigarettes.

Could this be a way for R.J. Reynolds to help bolster the ecigarette industry from the inside out? Time will tell as Vuse and other Big Tobacco branded ecigarettes hit the market running. What we do know, however, is that it appears Big Tobacco itself is slowly realizing the decline of cigarettes in everyday society, including within its own workplaces.

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