UNITED STATES - JUNE 15: Packs of Camel cigarettes, an R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. brand, sit on display in Garner, North Carolina, U.S., on Monday, June 15, 2009. North Carolina, which grows the most tobacco in the U.S. and is home to Reynolds and Lorillard Inc., is one of at least 25 states where legislators are considering an increase in cigarette taxes to cover budget shortfalls. Reynolds is the second-largest U.S. tobacco company with brands such as Camel, Pall Mall, Kool, Winston, and Doral. (Photo by Jim. R. Bounds/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Camel is one of the most popular cigarette brands in America. Known for its distinct and pleasant taste, especially the filter series, this cigarette brand has successfully gained many fans from all over the world.


However, did you ever wonder what company that makes this Camel cigarette? This time, we will take a deeper look at the cigarette manufacturer behind the Camel brand

Camel Cigarettes
@isuat via Twenty20

Camel Cigarettes

R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company (RJR)

The one that is responsible for the birth of a delicacy, such as Camel cigarettes, is R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company (RJR). This is the first company that produced/made the Camel cigarette.

In later years after this company was founded, there was a change that makes the manufacturer of Camel cigarette changes or divided into two companies, which is the one that makes it for America and international market.

R J Reynolds

RJR was founded by R. J. Reynolds. As the son of a tobacco farmer from Virginia, it wasn’t so surprising, if he also planned to run a business related to the ingredient he is familiar with, the tobacco.

Therefore, R J Reynolds started it by selling all his shares in his father’s company and uses the money he got to start his own tobacco company.

He didn’t move too far from his father’s company’s location in Patrick County, Virginia. He started in Winston-Salem.

Reynolds didn’t start it from making a cigarette company. In 1875, he founded this company as a tobacco factory.

In just 15 years or 1890 after he founded RJR, his factory production capacity for tobacco ingredient was increasing significantly and reaches several million pounds of tobacco every year.

His factory also became one of the biggest factories in the country at that time that produced 25% of chewing tobacco product of total product sales in the U.S. 

Camel Smoking

The Birth of Camel Cigarette

Camel cigarettes isn’t only delicious. But, it has a big role in the development of the cigarette until it comes into the form like we usually smoke today.

In short, Reynolds and his company, RJR, was the one that invented the packaged cigarette. 

The year was 1913. Reynolds worked up to create a way so his cigarette product can be sold for a wider range of the market. Then, the packaged cigarette was born.

This is one of the best innovation ideas if you see what kind of cigarette that was sold on the market at that time.

Before Camel was coming, the smoker needs to roll the tobacco inside the cigarette paper by themselves. Therefore, it took too much time and wastes too much energy.

By creating a simple and ready-to-use cigarettes like Camel, Reynolds has succeeded to bring his product into a higher level of popularity which also affected the sales.

Moreover, he also priced this new product cheaper than other products. With this kind of setting, his company has successfully sold more than 425 million packs within a year after his company launched this new rolling cigarette product.

Camel Cigarette

This result led the Camel cigarettes to become the most popular and profitable product from RJR.  

RJR import the French cigarette paper and Turkish tobacco just for this brand. They also made it milder than the standard cigarette product at that time. this method gave the Camel different taste, which became popular.

The Division 

As we mentioned above, the company that deals with the marketing in America area and international area are two different companies. This separation happened in 1999.

In this year, RJR sold all of their non-U.S. operations to Japan Tobacco. There were many theories back then. But, most people saw it as the action to recover from many lawsuits that RJR faced before they decided to sell it.

Camel Cigarette Pack

After RJR sold the rights to sell their product to Japan Tobacco, this Japanese company forms a department that will deal with the international market. This department is called JT International.

With this decision, all Camel cigarette brand, as well as Winston and Salems, which is also the product from RJR, that is sold outside the U.S. was made by Japan Tobacco.

So, if you find the Camel product in other countries, we can easily say that that product was Japanese cigarette.

The Ownership

RJR was run by Reynolds himself for more than 40 years. At that time, he stood on the highest position of the command chain.

Many ideas came from him and the decision was made mostly by him. However, this kind of business system didn’t show any weakness or problem in the company. The company was growing fast and keeps getting bigger.

This company even owned 84 acres (34 ha) of land that they use to run the tobacco factory and the cigarette manufacturer process. 

Camel Ad 1915
Camel Ad – 1915

And then, the disaster came in 1918. Reynolds died because of pancreatic cancer. After his death, his brother, William Neal Reynolds took over the company.

Then, six years later, the company started to use the chief executive and executive director system.

The first chief executive of RJR was Bowman Gray. After they applied this system, RJR grew bigger.

They even became the biggest taxpayer in North Carolina. Furthermore, RJR also became one of the most profitable companies in the world.

The interesting fact about Reynolds was his role in RJR was so big, that those who run the company after his death didn’t have the guts to hang other chief director photos beside Reynolds photo.

This condition kept happening for 41 years after his death before finally it was changed.

Current Condition

Currently, RJR is owned by British American Tobacco, after this company was taken over RJR with $49.4 billion deal in January 2017. The current CEO is Susan Cameron.

And, Debra Crew is the President and COO of the company. This company has more than 4,000 employees. This company headquarters is located at 401 N. Main Street, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, United States.

That’s all that you need to know about the company that produces Camel cigarette. If you want to know more about them, you can visit their website at 


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