Apr. 28 2006
Washington, DC — R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company announced this week it has acquired the Conwood smokeless tobacco company and intends to test market a Camel Snus smokeless tobacco product. The new product will be marketed as an extension of its heavily promoted Camel line with test markets in Austin, TX and Portland, OR. These new developments are cause for serious concern for several reasons:
There is concern that R.J. Reynolds will use Camel brand Snus as well as the products it will obtain from Conwood to appeal to children and other young people who do not smoke. R.J. Reynolds has been one of the most aggressive tobacco companies in marketing its products in ways that appeal to children. In recent years Reynolds has used its youth oriented Camel brand line and marketing imagery to introduce candy and fruit flavored cigarettes with marketing that is appealing to youth. Now that R.J. Reynolds has a new smokeless product, there's nothing to prevent the company from adding candy flavors as they have in the past or altering the product in ways that could make it more dangerous, attractive and accessible to youth. There is a need to be highly vigilant that these marketing strategies are not repeated as R.J. Reynolds enters the smokeless tobacco market.
There is concern that R.J. Reynolds will market their smokeless products as an alternative to quitting for those concerned about their health or living in a location with strong clean indoor air laws or will target smokers who would otherwise have quit, encouraging them to switch to R.J. Reynolds smokeless products as an alternative to quitting.
In the absence of government regulation, there is nothing preventing R.J. Reynolds from secretly changing the formula, the flavorings or ingredients in Camel Snus. Likewise there is currently no law regulating the process by which Camel Snus is made, or the toxic substance it contains. The Camel Snus R.J. Reynolds sells to consumers, including our kids, could very well be very different from the product that they touted and no one outside of R.J. Reynolds would know. In addition, there are products regulated by the FDA that have been proven to be both safe and increase a smoker's chance of quitting. Camel Snus is not one of those products and the scientific evidence demonstrates that smokeless tobacco as sold in the US is not safe. There is serious concern that it may be marketed in such a way as to divert consumers from the use of these already regulated products
Click here to view a list of the most egregious examples of R.J. Reynolds' harmful actions since the 1998 state tobacco settlement.