Tobacco giants, Philip Morris USA and Reynolds American smokeless tobacco..

January 12, 2010 - The pursuit of a reduced-risk niche for smokeless-tobacco products has put archrivals Reynolds American Inc. and Philip Morris USA on the same lobbying path.

It is impossible to limit the use of a tobacco product to a particular group of individuals. Professor John Britton, chairman of the Royal College of Physicians Tobacco Advisory Group, a proponent of SNUS as a harm reduction solution has concluded "It's their (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."

How do they know these tobacco products will even be used by cigarette smokers?? Murray S. Kessler, former vice-chair at Altria and prior to that the chairman and CEO of smokeless tobacco company UST Inc., has stated that "Nine out of 10 smokers that try smokeless still reject the product."

Based on the data we have gathered sales of snus have been poor.

It's not likely the manufacturers will collaborate on their efforts to convince the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to position smokeless tobacco as part of a potential middle ground between cigarettes and nicotine-cessation products such as gum and patches.

"There is no scientific evidence whatsoever that smokers are able to switch to smokeless tobacco and remain switched," Dr.Thomas Glynn, the Director of Cancer Science and Trends at the American Cancer Society (Snusing: the new way to give up smoking, Susie Rushton, The Independent, October 9, 2007) "There is no evidence smokeless tobacco can help people quit smoking. There are no studies we would consider sufficient." Dr. Terry Pechacek, Associate Director of Science at the Centers for Disease Control Office on Smoking and Health. (SNUS the BUMP, Nordic Reach (The Scandinavian Lifestyle Quarterly}, No.17 Volume XIX, 2007, p53)Dr. Gunilla Bolinder, Director of Education at Stockholm's Karolinska University Hospital points out, "To sing the praises of SNUS is a deathblow to over 20 years of hard tobacco preventive work. SNUS only saves the life of the tobacco industry" (SNUS gets the thumbs-down NEWS-24 1/31/2007).

In recent years, the manufacturers have bought their way into highly competitive marketplace positions in moist snuff.

Reynolds is considered as the industry leader in innovative smokeless products, while Philip Morris is dipping its toes with Marlboro Snus in test markets.

Still, having the top two U.S. cigarette companies pushing for regulatory changes may lend itself to more clout together than either could get on its own. "This is truly historic, as the largest tobacco companies are now advocating regulatory policies to reduce cigarette consumption, disease and death," said Bill Godshall, the executive director of SmokeFree Pennsylvania. The group is among the leading advocates for promoting smokeless products as a less-harmful alternative to cigarettes. "I'm extremely pleased they've decided to prioritize consumer health over short-term cigarette revenue and profit."

See related news brief: Commentary: Philip Morris pushes smokeless tobacco for only for those who refuse to quit smoking..

Reference: Tobacco rivals lobby for smokeless tobacco by Richard Craver, Winston Salem Journal, 1/11/2010.