Canada - sales of Imperial of Canada's du Maurier SNUS..

February 17, 2009 - Imperial of Canada is a wholly owned indirect subsidiary of British American Tobacco (BAT). In September 2007 Imperial started test marketing du Maurier snus in the City of Edmonton, Alberta. Then on January 28, 2008 Imperial chose Ottawa, Ontario as the second test site for their snus product.

We set out to find out how the sales of du Maurier snus were going. Cynthia Callard, Executive Director, Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada and Melodie Tilson, Director of Policy, Non-Smoking Rights Association were very helpful.

Although the companies are required to provide Health Canada with sales data, and although this information was previously made public, Health Canada has recently taken a decision to not make this information public. As a result, we have no hard data on sales. Possibly because there is only one company selling snus in Canada, the sales figures although collected by Health Canada are confidential.

Anecdotally, I (Cynthia) can tell you that the sales are very low, as reported to me by the sales clerks I have asked. Melodie - We are hearing that sales have been very slow. The convenience store in my building in downtown Ottawa had the fridge reclaimed by Imperial several months ago due to very slow sales. A sales person in a convenience store at the airport wasn't even aware that they sold snus, despite the presence of the mini-fridge right on the counter.

Les Hagen, executive director of Action on Smoking and Health.. Just anecdotal, Sam. I have talked to several retailers in Edmonton who have told me that the product is not selling very well at all. We have challenged Imperial to release the sales figures for duMaurier snus and cigarettes for Edmonton to prove that snus sales will displace cigarette sales as they suggest but so far they have ignored our request (no surprise).

Imperial ran a series of full-page ads for snus in the daily newspapers in Edmonton and Ottawa during the month of December (about 8-10 ads each), likely in an attempt to see if they could boost sales through aggressive advertising - Melodie. That was the only month in which there was extensive advertising (Cynthia - inferred that it was a year-of-end spending for the project).

Although the packages cannot be displayed at point of sale, there remain large black and white availability signs, in the form of the words “SNUS: $7.99”. Newspaper advertising of tobacco products is legal in Canada. December was the only month in which there was extensive advertising (I inferred that it was a year-of-end spending for the project). An example of ad that appeared at in December 2009.NOTE: the ad tells reader that oral tobacco is highly addictive too.

Related news briefs: Still sucking our youngsters in..; Ottawa becoming next test market for Snus..; duMaurier SNUS - Comments Regarding Smokeless Tobacco from Dave Hancock, Minister of Health & Wellness, Province of Alberta, Canada..; SNUS - smokeless tobacco product coming to Canada - Canada's largest tobacco manufacturer (Imperial Tobacco); duMaurier SNUS - Edmonton, Alberta - Imperial Tobacco Canada...