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December 21, 2010 - R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. confirmed for CSP Daily News reports of the tobacco company's intent to pull the Camel Dissolvables line of smokeless tobacco products--Camel Sticks, Strips and Orbs--from current lead tests markets of Columbus, Ohio, Indianapolis and Portland, Ore.
Customers had received word about the product removal through a letter sent from R.J. Reynolds, said The Indianapolis Star. To view this letter: Direct mail letter informing the receiver that Camel Dissolvables are being removed from the receiver's area... (Many thanks to trinketsandtrash.org..)
David Howard, spokesperson for Reynolds American Inc. (RAI), Winston-Salem, N.C., told CSP Daily News, "We have made the business decision that we are going to be going to new lead markets for our dissolvable tobacco products late in the first quarter of 2011. As a result of that, we will be leaving the current three lead markets--Columbus, Ohio, Indianapolis and Portland, Ore."
He added, "We are leaving those lead markets after gaining learnings from adult tobacco consumers over the past two years. Those products have been available in those markets since the first quarter of 2009. And we're very pleased with the feedback we've received from [those] consumers following the introduction of Camel dissolvable tobacco products. Now, we have made the business decision to go to new lead markets in order to gain additional feedback and new perspectives." (RAI comment from q3 2001 highlights: R.J. Reynolds continues to gain valuable consumer insights on Camel’s new line of innovative dissolvable tobacco products — Orbs, Sticks and Strips. These insights will help the company as it continues to refine its dissolvable product offerings. RAI - highlights q3 2010 earnings report..)
He did not specify the new lead markets.
Camel Sticks, Strips and Orbs drew controversy, according to the newspaper, because some people believed that the packaging looks too similar to gum or candy, and because of their "Mellow" and "Fresh" flavors. (Virginia - 1 of 3 teenagers identified smokeless tobacco products as candy or gum..)
In a statement, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids called on R.J. Reynolds "to permanently pull these products" from the marketplace. "The Camel dissolvable products appeal to children in that they are easily concealed and colorfully packaged, shaped and flavored to resemble mints or gum. These products also have been marketed as an alternative to cigarettes in the growing number of places where smoking is not allowed, which discourages smokers from quitting and truly protecting their health." (R.J. Reynolds Pulls Dissolvable Smokeless Products from Test Markets; Company Must Stop Pushing Tobacco Products that Entice Kids)
Howard said, "These are tobacco products that provide...consumers options to enjoy tobacco without bothering others. And we also believe that these dissolvable tobacco products can meet societal expectations, in that there is no secondhand smoke, there is no spitting and there is no cigarette-butt litter because the products dissolve. These are [among] the learnings."
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is already reviewing the impact of dissolvable tobacco products on public health under its new authority to regulate tobacco products granted in June 2009 by the Family Smoking Prevention & Tobacco Control Act.
Dr. Lawrence Deyton, head of the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products, wrote February 1, 2010: FDA is "concerned that children and adolescents may find dissolvable tobacco products particularly appealing, given the brightly colored packaging, candy-like appearance and easily concealable size of many of these products." (U.S. FDA - concerned that dissolvable tobacco products could draw in children and teenagers..)
While FDA in its letters to the two companies acknowledged the products are marketed to adults, it nonetheless asked both manufacturers for extensive information on research and marketing practices for the products. Star Scientific and Reynolds have two months to respond.
The FDA Letter to Industry on Dissolvable Smokeless Tobacco Products:
R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company..
Star Scientific, Inc
Added Howard, the spokesperson for Reynolds American Inc." "We have already provided [the Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee (TPSAC)] millions of pages of documents at their request. TPSAC...is supposed to present its findings and recommendations related to dissolvables to the FDA in April 2012," added Howard.
Reference: Dissolvable Learnings
R.J. Reynolds shifting Camel Sticks, Strips, Orbs to new lead markets by Greg Lindenberg, CSP Daily News, 12/21/2010.