Most current Camel cigarettes contain a blend of Turkish tobacco and Virginia tobacco. Winston-Salem, North Carolina, the city where R. J. Reynolds was founded, is nicknamed “Camel City” because of the brand’s popularity.
In 1913, Richard Joshua “R. J.” Reynolds, founder of the company that still bears his name, innovated the packaged cigarette. Prior cigarette smokers had rolled their own, which tended to obscure the potential for a national market for a pre-packaged product. Reynolds worked to develop a more appealing flavor, creating the cigarette, which he so named because it used Turkish tobacco in imitation of then-fashionable Egyptian cigarettes. Reynolds priced them below competitors,and within a year, he had sold 425 million packs.
Camel cigarettes were originally blended to have a milder taste than established brands. They were advance-promoted by a careful advertising campaign that included “teasers” simply stating “the Camels are coming”, a play on the old Scottish folk song “The Campbells Are Coming”. Another promotion was “Old Joe”, a circus camel driven through towns to attract attention and distribute free cigarettes. The brand’s slogan, used for decades, was “I’d walk a mile for a Camel!
The iconic style of Camel is the original unfiltered cigarette sold in a soft pack, known as Camel Straights or Regulars. Its popularity peaked through the brand’s use by famous personalities such as news broadcaster Edward R. Murrow, whose usage of them was so heavy and so public that the smoking of a Camel no-filter became his trademark.
In Europe, it is also a brand of cigarette rolling papers and loose cigarette tobacco, maintaining a top 20 roll-your-own rank in Northern Europe with yearly expansion into Southern and Eastern Europe according to the European Subsidiary’s annual report.