Dissolvable Learnings

R.J. Reynolds shifting Camel Sticks, Strips, Orbs to new lead markets

Greg Lindenberg, Editor, CSP

INDIANAPOLIS -- 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.

David Howard, spokesperson for Reynolds American Inc., Winston-Salem, N.C., told CSP Daily News, "We have made the business decision [image-nocss] 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."

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.

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."

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.

"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.Click hereto view the FDA letter on dissolvable tobacco products.Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Reynolds American is the parent company of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco.; American Snuff; Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Co. Inc.; and Niconovum AB.

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco is the second-largest U.S. tobacco company. The company's brands include five of the 10 best-selling cigarettes in the United States: Camel, Pall Mall, Winston, Doral and Kool. American Snuff s the nation's second-largest manufacturer of smokeless tobacco products. Its leading brands are Kodiak, Grizzly and Levi Garrett. American Snuff also sells and distributes a variety of tobacco products manufactured by Lane Ltd., including Winchester and Captain Black little cigars and Bugler roll-your-own tobacco. Santa Fe Natural Tobacco manufactures Natural American Spirit cigarettes and other additive-free tobacco products, and manages and markets other super-premium brands. Niconovum markets innovative nicotine replacement therapy products in Sweden and Denmark under the Zonnic brand.