December 20, 2010 - R.J. Reynolds will end test-marketing in Columbus of a controversial tobacco-infused mint, but company officials said they plan to introduce the mint in other test markets next month. David Howard, an RJR spokesman, said the company decided to "make them available to adult tobacco consumers" in new test markets. He declined to say which cities will have the dissolvable mints, but he said they will not be in Ohio.
The product has provoked intense criticism from opponents of smoking such as Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, who have argued that the dissolvable mints are designed to hook children on nicotine. (U.S. Senate Health Committee Adopts Merkley-Brown Amendment on Tobacco Candy..)
"Both the flavoring and packaging of these products were clearly aimed to younger people,'' said Matt Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids in Washington.
Brown said that although the removal of the mints from Columbus stores "is an encouraging step, I remain concerned about tobacco companies' plans to further test or market smokeless 'tobacco candy' products ... elsewhere in the country." (U.S. - senator urges FDA to pull dissolvable tobacco products from test market sites..)
Howard insisted that the products are not intended for teenagers and younger kids. "It is very clear that these are tobacco products sold to adult tobacco consumers," he said. (Camel Dissolvables - can they be considered candy-like..)
Test-marketing of the mints began last year in Columbus and two other cities. Howard said the products will not be removed from Columbus stores, but the company will no longer "replenish" local supplies. (Dissolving Tobacco Hits Columbus, OH Test Market - see VIDEO..; C-Store Update - Camel Dissolvable Tobacco Sampler and etc..)
Reference: Local test of tobacco mints to end Trial marketing of product to shift to other U.S. cities by Jack Torry, THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 12/18/2010.