Introduced in 1956 by R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, Salem was the first filter-tipped menthol cigarette on the market to compete with Brown & Williamson's Kool and Axton-Fisher's Spud. It is essentially the menthol counterpart to Winston, their original filter-tipped brand. As of 2001, Salem was Reynold's fourth best selling cigarette brand and was ranked eigth in terms of national market, having captured 2.7% of the retail market share.
Until the mid-90s, the distinctive green and white Salem packages came sealed in clear plastic wraps (an R. J. Reynolds innovation) to maintain freshness. The design changed in the 90s to a green and silver foil wrap with a slightly redesigned logo, but was soon changed back to clear plastic wrap, possibly due to customer protest. A new logo was introduced again, this time a yin yang shape in two shades of metallic green.
For those Salem smokers out there who are viewing the rising cost of their favorite premium brand with growing dismay, do not dispair. There is a more generic brand, Private Stock, whose menthol cigarettes taste almost identical to Salems.
Onyx Group, The. "Highlights of Tobacco History". Coalition for a Tobacco Free Pennsylvania Website. <http://www.tobaccofreepa.org/information/highlights_of_tobacco_history.htm> (December 5, 2002)
R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. "Company Factbook". R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company Website. <http://www.rjrt.com/IN/COwhoweare_corpfactbook.asp?Nav=NR> (December 5, 2002)