May 25, 2009 - R.J. Reynolds introduced Camel Orbs in Columbus, Indianapolis and Portland, Ore., earlier this year, and the company said early feedback has been positive. David Howard, a spokesman for R.J. Reynolds said, Orbs “meet the societal expectation of no second-hand smoke, no spitting, and in the case of dissolvables, no litter.”
Shelly Kiser, director of advocacy for American Lung Association in Ohio and no great fan of Camel Orbs, needed a prop for her presentation on Camel Orbs to the Ohio School Nurses Association. All she needed was a prop so she headed to a Columbus gas station earlier this year and asked for a container of Orbs. They gave it to her for free.
For U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio and public health advocate, it’s yet another diabolical strategy to get kids hooked on smoking. Brown, this week successfully added a measure calling for a quick Federal Drug Administration (FDA) study of Orbs and other dissolvable tobacco products to a larger bill that would, for the first time, put tobacco products under FDA regulatory authority. The bill, with the amendment, passed the committee last week and now awaits full U.S. Senate approval. It passed the House in April without this amendment.
Brown compares Orbs to candy - (see comparison with Tic Tac candies) -, and said the fact that the products can be passed off as breath mints is another way to lure kids into becoming tobacco addicts at a young age. “It is criminal to me that they market to children the way they do,” he said.
Brown cites studies indicating a single Orb has between 60 and 300 times the amount of tobacco contained in a single cigarette.
Greg Connolly, a professor of the practice of public health at Harvard University, calls Orb products “nicotine on training wheels.” R.J. Reynolds, Connolly said, “is just trying to expand the options for nicotine delivery products for the American public.” Smoking a cigarette for the first time, can be a deeply uncomfortable experience for a teenager, Connolly said. There’s the smoke, for one thing, as well as the coughing and the taste. By turning it into a mint-like product — in mint and cinnamon flavors — they’ve made nicotine addiction a more pleasurable experience, he said.
Connolly said Brown’s amendment would allow the FDA to begin the studies necessary to take Orbs off the market. Camel Orbs is the first of the dissolvable products to be tested marketed soon orbs will be followed by Camel flavored tobacco sticks and probably the worst Camel flavored edible tobacco strips like Listerine breath strips simply place the strip on your tongue and you guaranteed to be a nicotine addicts in just a couple of weeks or less. As pointed out by Dr. Connolly these nicotine dosage forms are easier to tolerate so kids will become possible life-long nicotine addicts at a much younger age compared with cigarette initiation. Test marketing of these dissolvables should be prevented until the quick FDA study is concluded.
Bill Godshall of a group called SmokeFree Pennsylvania counts himself as one of the defenders of Orbs. He compares the products to Nicorette or Commit Lozenges and cites studies indicating they are safer than cigarettes. Mr. Godshall should know that Nicroette or Committ Lozenges have undergone several safety and efficacy studies prior to getting an NDA (new drug approval)from the FDA. There is not a shred of scientific evidence showing that smokeless tobacco is effective in helping patients quit smoking. In the past, Dr. Brad Rodu is usually called upon to justify smokeless tobacco but by now this man must have lost his credibility after accepting millions from smokeless tobacco companies. Godshall may have something to do with Pennsylvania being the only state in the nation that does not tax tobacco products other than cigarettes.
Kiser said despite the fact that the products are only legal for adults, school nurses have reported finding packages of Orbs in the trash. To her, they’re dangerous because they can be consumed in front of parents and teachers without the adults knowing what’s going on. “Unless a parent knows the exact shape of it, they wouldn’t suspect anything,” she said.
Reynolds claims that it is the first major U.S. tobacco manufacturer to offer these dissolvable products.
Reference: Tobacco foes say new product a lure for minors Maker of Camel Orbs says smokeless, dissolvable tobacco is ‘hardly candy.’ by Jessica Wehrman, Dayton Daily News, 5/24/2009.
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