January 9, 2009 - Commentary on an article entitled "Philip Morris Pushes Smokeless Firm Wants FDA to Position Tobacco Product as Safer Alternative to Cigarettes" by David Kesmodel that appeared in The Wall Street Journal on January 6, 2010.
Philip Morris and U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co., both units of Altria Group Inc., filed a letter with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The letter was submitted as part of a public-comment period in which the FDA accepted ideas for implementing the landmark law enacted last year that gave the agency broad authority to regulate tobacco products.
Altria is urging the Food and Drug Administration to adopt a regulatory plan that would encourage smokers who can't or won't quit tobacco to switch to less-harmful smokeless tobacco.
But is it possible to limit the use of a tobacco product to a particular group of individuals. The FDA Tobacco Center under the law will be responsible for carrying out the legislation, including restricting tobacco advertising, collecting user fees from tobacco companies and stopping the sales of cigarettes and other tobacco products to children. No longer do we want our children, our future, being nicotine addicts never able to reach their full potential.
Let's look back on how we've done with limiting the distribution of SNUS (moist snuff) - a product at one time for use specifically by the pool of inveterate (hard-nosed, long established, deep rooted) cigarette smokers who refuse to quit smoking tobacco.
Proponents of using less harmful tobacco products such as Brad Rodu, DDS and William T. Godshall, MPH authored a paper in the December 2006 issue of the Harm Reduction Journal entitled, "Tobacco Harm Reduction: An Alternate Cessation Strategy for Inveterate Smokers," and Dr. Coral Gartner and colleagues paper in the June 16, 2007 issue of The Lancet concluded that SNUS could produce a net health benefit in inveterate smokers.
Joel Nitzkin, M.D., MPH, Chair AAPHP Tobacco Control Task Force, American Association of Public Health Physicians: in correspondents with us we our in agreement that if harm reduction products like SNUS could be limited to inveterate tobacco smokers then we would have no problem accepting its use.
But it is impossible to limit the distribution of these products. As pointed out by John Britton, MD, Chair of the Royal Royal College of Physicians Tobacco Advisory Group, a proponent of the use of less harmful forms of tobacco, "It's tobacco companies job to sell as much tobacco as possible, so they will be targeting non-smokers rather than current ones, that's the worry."
Let's look at how R.J.Reynolds Tobacco has marketed Camel SNUS in the U.S. using the product tagline: "Pleasure for wherever!".
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Other ads from Entertainment Magazines
Camel SNUS Ads - Magazines: Sports Illustrated, Rolling Stones, People and Car and Driver - March 2009..
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Camel SNUS Guide to Dating - mailed to all people on the R.J. Reynolds mailing list. Just imagine trying to kiss your date with the pouch stationed in your mouth - between your upper lip and gum. You'll release much more saliva and have that urge to spit. Others in the past: SNUS Guide to Airports.. Camel SNUS Guide to Sweden..
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Reynolds has flooded the market c-stores with coupons for free cans of Camel SNUS. In fact - we have reported some c-stores were giving this stuff away free for anyone willing to give it a try.
One of the latest Camel SNUS ads - Break Free: Keep on Making Noise.. - Maxim Magazine , December 2009.
Besides Camel SNUS Reynolds is now test marketing in three cities three different dosage forms of dissolvable tobacco products. It is our point of view - the dosage forms alone market these products to kids. Each product in convenient user-friendly form: a flavored pellet like a Tic Tac or Life Saver Holes, a flavored toothpick is it peppermint toothpick or a peppermint toothpick laced with nicotine and an edible film strip for your tongue similar to Listerine pocketpaks breath strips.
David Howard, RJR spokesman: All three dissolvable products will be priced in-line with Camel Snus and promoted through point-of-sale signage, direct-mail promotions, print advertisements and sampling at places such as bars and clubs. (Convenience Store News - R.J. Reynolds' SNUS Goes National)
Comment from Metroblogging User - Portland, OR: There are only two drawbacks. First, it doesn't take a genius to see what a boon SNUS would be to underage users. Heck, you could sit in class with some in your mouth, and no one would be the wiser. At least when I was in high school, you had the telltale clumps of 'chaw' in the water fountains to betray the tobacco user, or at least the worn white rings in the back pocket of your jeans. You could probably hide this stuff from teachers and parents pretty easily.
Second, although smokeless tobacco saves you from some of the risk of heart disease and lung cancer, plenty of smokeless tobacco users out there have developed cancer of the mouth or throat, and have had large chunks of their jaws and tongues removed as a result. But that's a hard image to sell to sixteen-year-olds, who are pretty sure that they're immortal ("You Snus, You Lose" posted by PAgent at 1:50pm on January 8, 2007).
Are adults snoozing while kids are "snusing?"..
It is interesting to note in the Wall Street Journal article the photo showed tubes containing cans of Skoal moist snuff. Skoal is available in a variety of flavors Wintergreen, Straight, Mint, Cherry, Classic, Spearmint, Berry Blend, Vanilla Blend, Apple Blend, Peach Blend and Citrus Blend.
Recently, the FDA banned some minor flavored cigarettes but did not consider other flavored tobacco products. At the press conference announcing the ban FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, MD stated: "Almost 90% of adult smokers start smoking as teenagers, and these flavored cigarettes are a gateway for many children and young adults to become regular smokers." C-store update - let's ban all flavored tobacco products..
"Our Highest Priority Has To Be Keeping Children From Beginning To Use Tobacco Products" Dr. Richard Carmona, 17th Surgeon General of the USA.