Why does R.J. Reynolds Tobacco keep on selecting Portland, OR as a test site..


January 26, 2009 - On April 28, 2006 R.J. Reynolds Tobacco (RJR) started test marketing Camel SNUS in Portland Oregon and Austin Texas. In January 2009 RJR will launch its test marketing of three dissolvable tobacco products: Camel Orbs - like a candy pellet; Camel Sticks - like a toothpick and Camel Strips - an edible film strip like Listerine Pocketpaks® Breath Strips. The products will launch in the first quarter in Columbus, Ohio, Portland, Oregon, and Indianapolis.

Why does RJR continue to select Portland, Oregon for product testing? RJR spokesman David Howard said the city is "maybe a little below average" in chewing tobacco use. And while Portland and Austin have reputations as hipster havens, Howard said Reynolds isn't targeting twentysomethings. The company picked Portland and Austin to get feedback from "all adult tobacco consumers."

Health workers have a theory about Portland's selection: Big Tobacco wants a new generation of customers. "I see it as a young adult marketing strategy, and we have a lot of hip young adults in this city," Cathryn Cushing, a specialist with the Oregon's Tobacco Prevention and Education Program. said. And "if it appeals to a 22-year-old, I think you can assume it will appeal to a 16-year-old. Because what do 16-year-olds want to be? Twenty-two."

Here's the real reason that Portland was selected.. In the State of Oregon tobacco companies are allowed to dole out freebies of smokeless tobacco but are banned from handing out free cigarettes. With new products like Camel SNUS and soon Camel Dissolvable Tobacco products that boast kid-friendly flavors the state legislators now wants this practice stopped. State Rep. Carolyn Tomei: “Now Oregon has become the place where they have campaigns for smokeless tobacco. They’re handing out free Snus samples, and to whom did they hand it out? Not people my age; it’s the young ones.”

Oregon's interim state epidemiologist, Dr. Katrina Hedberg, says that even though the "sticks," "orbs" and "strips" are smoke-free, they're still a health hazard designed to "help people continue their addiction." She's particularly concerned that the candy-flavored products will be marketed to underage consumers as a gateway to cigarettes.

R.J. Reynolds denies this. As evidence, it trumpets the fact that Camel Dissolvables, as the product line is called, will be sold in child-proof packaging.

That's laughable. We know they're not targeting 2-year-olds.

Reference: Health officials say the pouches of chew, which are getting a trial-market run in Portland-OR, will lure the young, WhiteLies.TV, 1/7/2007; 'Camel Dissolvables" head for Portland by The Oregonian editorial board, OregonLive.com, 12/20/2008;

A few related news briefs: Oregon - STOP Tobacco Companies from passing out free smokeless tobacco..; STOP the Release of Dissolvable Tobacco Products..; Our children are in danger of becoming nicotine addicts...

Even with all the Camel SNUS freebies, e.g. like with the test marketing in Raleigh, NC, judging from interviews with a dozen sellers, snus has not set Portland's tobacco world afire. Most local bartenders and store owners said they sell one or two tins a month, mostly to men in their 20s and 30s. The minty frost flavor sells best. It's interesting to note that are RJR has dropped the Orginal and Spice flavors, kept Frost and added Mellow.

4 comments:

  julepea

January 27, 2009 at 10:35 AM

The second biggest tobacco company, R.J. Reynolds released their modern, smokefree, dissolvable, tobacco product called Camel Orbs in three test market cities. As of January 20, 2009 Camel Orbs can be purchased at convenience store chains: The Plaid Pantry in Portland Oregon, or Super Speedways in Columbus, Ohio and Indianapolis, Indiana. Dissolvable tobacco is not exactly a new innovation, Virginia-based Star Scientific Inc. created Stonewall, and Ariva; two dissolvable tobaccos derived from a patented flue (microwaved), cured tobacco, this process kills bacteria, leading to a lower level of certain cancer causing nitrosamines. Star Scientific Inc. sued R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. for patent infringement in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland in 2001. Although Star Scientific Inc. patents were found enforceable, the case is still in appeal.

  julepea

January 27, 2009 at 10:36 AM

Camel Orbs Rolls into Test Markets

The second biggest tobacco company, R.J. Reynolds released their modern, smokefree, dissolvable, tobacco product called Camel Orbs in three test market cities. As of January 20, 2009 Camel Orbs can be purchased at convenience store chains: The Plaid Pantry in Portland Oregon, or Super Speedways in Columbus, Ohio and Indianapolis, Indiana. Dissolvable tobacco is not exactly a new innovation, Virginia-based Star Scientific Inc. created Stonewall, and Ariva; two dissolvable tobaccos derived from a patented flue (microwaved), cured tobacco, this process kills bacteria, leading to a lower level of certain cancer causing nitrosamines. Star Scientific Inc. sued R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. for patent infringement in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland in 2001. Although Star Scientific Inc. patents were found enforceable, the case is still in appeal.
Camel Orbs taglines are “Tobacco Anytime Anywhere,” and “The best tobacco you never smoked.” Camel Orbs come in two flavors Fresh and Mellow, and last about 10 minutes. R.J. Reynolds states “just pop one in your mouth and let it dissolve…Some people like to roll the orb around on their tongue while others keep it between the upper lip and gum. It’s really up to you… Don’t chew or swallow an Orb.”
Camel Orbs packages are child resistance, to open you must shake the package and only while pressing a button on the back does the internal tray slide out and one camel imprinted, pez-sized tablet pops out. The Camel Orbs contain one or two calories, and nicotine but no tar. The Camel Sticks, flavor mellow, will be available in the Spring 2009 and Camel Strips, flavor fresh will be released in the Summer 2009.
W Whether this product is a POTENTIAL Reduce Exposure Product or PREP, and will assist smokers in quitting tobacco or give them a less harmful method of using tobacco is undetermined. Some think that it might be a gateway for nonsmoker to eventual smoke, or even worse Camel Orbs might lead to dual users or people whom smoke and use dissolvable tobacco when they’re in a non-smoking setting. Without extensive studies on the risks of ingesting dissolvables tobacco, the only one who benefits from Camel Orbs is R.J. Reynolds.

  jgogek

January 27, 2009 at 11:29 AM

Using smokeless tobacco does not help smokers quit. At least, not in the United States.

Earlier research in Sweden has suggested otherwise. But, according to a study just released by the University of California, San Diego and Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet, there are important differences between the United States and Sweden about how people use—and quit—tobacco. The study is published in Tobacco Control.

In Sweden, many smokers quit smoking by switching to smokeless tobacco. But researchers didn’t find a similar effect among U.S. smokers. This is important because there has been a vigorous debate in the international public health community about whether tobacco control programs should stop advocating complete tobacco cessation and start promoting smokeless tobacco as a less-harmful alternative to smoking.

Over a one-year period, the study tracked quit rates, and the rates of switching from one form of tobacco to another, of more than 15,000 adult participants. It showed that:

• Among U.S. men, less than 1 percent of current smokers switched to smokeless tobacco during the 12 month study.
• Only 1.7 percent of former smokers turned to smokeless tobacco.
• Men’s quit rate for smokeless tobacco was three times higher than for cigarettes.

The Swedish data showed just the opposite: Swede smokers are more likely to switch to smokeless tobacco. Smokeless tobacco users in Sweden are less likely to quit.

It looks like the Swedish experience with smokeless tobacco and quitting smoking is unique to Sweden.

http://ucsdnews.ucsd.edu/newsrel/health/01-09SmokelessTobacco.asp

  tobaccowatch.org

January 27, 2009 at 1:11 PM

jgogek - thanks for the summary of the San Diego study..

http://snus-news.blogspot.com/2009/01/united-states-using-smokless-tobacco.html