Vantage is a brand of American cigarettes manufactured by the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. It received its biggest advertising push in the 1970s and ’80s but is now categorized as a ‘non-support’ brand; though R.J. Reynolds will not provide marketing support for Vantage, the company will maintain the brand’s distribution where there is consumer demand.
Vantage is notable for its innovative filter design. Rather than featuring a solid filter like most cigarette brands, Vantage’s filter features a conical hole in its center. While seemingly as mysterious as Parliament’s recessed filter, Vantage advertising from 1977 states that the reasoning behind the design is to give “smokers the flavor of a full-flavor cigarette without anywhere near the ‘tar’ or nicotine”. Similarly, Vantage’s packaging still features the slogan “Rich Taste, Low Tar” and promises 9 mg of tar and 0.8 mg of nicotine.
Vantage’s current-day profile is rather low, but the brand pops up every so often. It is featured as the heroine’s cigarette of choice in Lorrie Moore’s short story “Willing” in her collection Birds of America and is seen being stubbed out by a minor character in Donna Tartt’s bestselling The Secret History. Similarly, the final punch line of the film Reversal of Fortune comes as Jeremy Irons’s Klaus von Bulow purchases “two packs Vantage” at a drug store. Bette Davis, who was well known for her smoking habit, changed her preferred cigarette from Lucky Strike to Vantage in the later years of her life.