RJR Drops Plans For Smoking Lounge Near Headquarters

R-J Reynolds Tobacco has dropped its plans to open a smoking lounge near its downtown Winston-Salem headquarters.

The cigarette maker cites a change in marketing strategy because of expanding restrictions on public smoking. The proposed Marshall McGearty Tobacco Lounge was to open this summer and cater to upscale adult customers as a promotional tool for the company's premium brand. In December 2005, R-J-R opened a smoking lounge in Chicago to showcase its cigarette brand called Marshall McGearty Tobacco Artisans.

Smoke-free laws governing restaurants and bars are in effect in 20 states and Washington, D-C.

Reynolds has a five-year lease on the building and plans to
sublease the property once renovations are done by early August.