Puffing Hard Just to Keep Up

With consumption down and taxes rising, cigarette makers try bold changes

No matter how fierce or ingenious their attempts to outdo one another, American cigarette makers have historically had one thing in common: 20 smokes to a pack. But last week even that came unwrapped. In smoke shops and supermarkets in 33 states, Century cigarettes from R.J. Reynolds (1982 total sales: $10.9 billion) made their debut with 25 to the pack and 225 cigarettes to the nine-pack carton. Century still costs about the same as other brands. Reynolds ads made that point clear: "New Century—taste...

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