While it s the biggest tobacco company, Altria whose dozens of products include Parliament, Virginia Slims and Skoal was late in jumping into what s become a billion dollar industry. Sales have been growing every year since e cigarettes were introduced in the U.S. around 2007.

RJ Reynolds, the maker of Camel, Kool and Winston, began selling its e cig, Vuse, last year in limited markets.

Last week Reynolds said it would launch a new version of Vuse in Colorado this summer ahead of a national rollout.

Lorillard, the third largest U.S. tobacco company and maker of Newport and Kent, last year bought the company that makes BlueCigs. The brand has been advertised on TV since October in commercials featuring actor Steven Dorff.

Altria s entry really lends credence to the attractiveness of the category, Vivien Azer, tobacco industry analyst at Citigroup, told the Daily News.

Snopes.com: the marlboro man died of lung cancer?

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Origins When a prominent study was released in the 1950s linking smoking to lung cancer, it presented Philip Morris, the manufacturer of the Marlboro brand of cigarettes, with a dilemma many consumers were concerned enough about the health issues associated with smoking to want to switch to filtered cigarettes (which were perceived as safer), but many men viewed filtered cigarettes and the Marlboro brand in particular, which had originally been marketed as a woman’s product, advertised as being mild and ladylike and featuring a red band around one end to disguise lipstick stains as too feminine. Philip Morris’ response to this issue was to reposition Marlboro as a men’s cigarette promoted via advertisements featuring strong masculine figures, and the rugged ‘Marlboro Man’ cowboy became one of the most prominent advertising icons of the mid twentieth century, propelling Marlboro from a niche brand to the world’s best selling cigarette.

The visibility of the Marlboro Man as an icon has diminished greatly in the U.S. since its peak in the 1960s and 1970s, however, as increasing evidence linking cigarette smoking to a variety of medical ailments has caused the prevalence of smoking to decline and prompted the passage of restrictions limiting the media in which cigarettes could be advertised. Many anti smoking advocates have since cited claims that “the Marlboro Man died of lung cancer” as an apt irony highlighting the dangers of smoking, a literal death foreshadowing the eventual demise of the product the Marlboro Man helped prompted to many millions of consumers.

Any claim about “the” Marlboro Man is somewhat indefinite, though, as many different men have portrayed the rugged looking cowboys featured in Marlboro cigarette advertisements since 1954. An Oklahoma native named Darrell Winfield was the main Marlboro Man from the mid 1970s onwards, but dozens of other men (many of them “real” cowboys) have also modeled for television commercials, magazine and newspaper advertisements, billboards, and other advertising materials promoting Marlboro brand of cigarettes over the last sixty years. A few of those men, all long time smokers, have died of diseases of the lungs

  • Wayne McLaren, who posed for some promotional photographs on behalf of Marlboro in 1976, succumbed to lung cancer at age 51 on 22 July 1992. McLaren was a former professional rodeo rider who appeared in small parts in various television series and movies (primarily Westerns) throughout the 1960s and 1970s, and he modeled for print advertising between acting jobs in the mid 1970s, including a Marlboro campaign in 1976. McLaren, who had a pack and a half a day smoking habit, was diagnosed with lung cancer at age 49. Despite chemotherapy, the removal of one lung, and radiation treatments, the cancer eventually spread to his brain and killed him. After learning he had cancer, McLaren embarked on an anti smoking campaign that included the production of a commercial described as follows