- Accord Ultra Light Menthol (American version) R-20-H
- Promotional poster highlighting the Accord system
- Accord -- see under Collector's Choice
In the United States, Accord cigarettes were made by Philip Morris Companies Inc.. Philip Morris developed Accord, a micro-electric cigarette holder, to “address consumer concerns about health risks,” and as a direct competitive response to R.J. Reynolds’ “Premier” product. Unveiled in 1998, the battery-powered “smoking system,” which reduced visible smoke and ashes from the end of a cigarette, was a radically different kind of smoked tobacco product.
The device contained a microchip that sensed when an Accord cigarette was being puffed, and sent power to eight heating blades around the cigarette. The chip prevented ignition if conventional cigarettes were inserted into the lighter, and was also equipped with the equivalent of the television V-chip, a locking device for use by parents.
The device worked using a novel electronic sensor technology. Inhaling on a cigarette inserted in the device triggers the electrical heating element, which heats the cigarette to a temperature below that necessary to create combustion, but still delivers emissions which contain nicotine. The tobacco in the Accord cigarette is warmed only when puffed; smokers could take a puff from a cigarette in its holder, put the device down, and take another puff an hour later.
Philip Morris spent, through 2003, over $370 million in operating expenses and nearly $50 million in capital expenses developing the Accord cigarette. In 1998, Philip Morris began to sell it in Richmond, Virginia.
The customized Accord cigarettes were 62 millimeters long, shorter than the 85 millimeter conventional cigarette, and sold at a price comparable to premium cigarettes.
Philip Morris sought to test whether smokers, accustomed to the ritual of handling and lighting cigarettes, would be willing to use its “smoke-in-the-box” system. Indeed, smokers were forced to create a new routine, buying a new brand of cigarettes and remembering to recharge the heating element’s battery before prolonged use.
Philip Morris never informed potential consumers in the test market, through promotional or marketing materials, of its own conclusion that Accord is a reduced exposure product and a potentially reduced harm product. Indeed, in a presentation to the Altria Board of Directors in late 1996, Philip Morris stated, "By controlling the heat applied to the tobacco, [Accord] addresses in significant ways criticisms made of our current cigarettes," but that in marketing Accord to consumers, "we do not want to disparage our existing brands."
In 2001, Philip Morris commissioned its longtime advertising agency, Leo Burnett, to develop a set of Accord ads that included the messages that Accord "reduces certain smoke compounds," including fiftytwo compounds that "are harmful to smokers." The advertisements also included a chart that compared Accord to an unidentified light cigarette in its reduction of harmful compounds. Philip Morris has not used these ads. Instead, the Accord advertising campaign focused on sidestream smoke alone (i.e., that Accord is less annoying to others because less smoke is emitted), rather than health issues.
After eight years of test marketing, Accord was removed from stores in the Richmond, VA area in early 2006, having met with little commercial success.
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