Cigarette Company Returns to Air to Advertise E-Cigs

Assuming the FDA doesn't stop them


Reynolds American Inc. (RAI), which once promoted its Winston cigarettes on the "Flintstones" cartoon show, is returning to television for the first time in 43 years—this time advertising its new Vuse e-cigarette.

The 60-second commercial, which begins airing in Colorado next month, features lab technicians in white coats and zooms in on the microprocessor that controls the sleek metallic Vuse, which like other e-cigs delivers a nicotine-infused vapor rather than smoke. The spot is nothing like Reynolds ads of yore. There are no cartoon spokesmen. Also absent: a jingle such as "Winston Tastes Good Like a Cigarette Should."

The commercial draws attention to e-cigs as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration assesses the potential risks of what cigarette companies bill as a substitute for smoking. Rival companies including Lorillard Inc. (LO) have drawn fire for airing ads that anti-smoking groups say could hook a new generation on nicotine or induce youngsters to try the real thing.