I went to Nashvegas Saturday to the NASCAR Nationwide series race. I got there way too early, so I had plenty of time to wander the “midway” of merchandise trucks set up outside the track. I got can coozies from three different places and signed up to win a bunch of crap (and get on more worthless mailing lists, I know.)
But what grabbed my attention most was the restricted-entry vendors – the tobacco companies. USA Gold was giving away sample cigarettes and Zippo lighters (passed on the cig and took the lighter), Red Man spit tobacco was giving away samples and discount coupons with a chance to win cool swag (no luck) gave the free samples to the guy in front of me, and Camel.
Camel was a totally enclosed space with a foreboding sign: No Videos or Photographs!
No, sneaky ways to get a tobacky fix!
They were pushing Camel Snus.
They were pushing Snus hard as an alternative to smoking when the addicted can’t legally get their fix. If the guy mentioned once, he mentioned five times, Snus is spitless.
Now that’s a unique selling pitch. Use our product because you don’t have to spit. Snus are pre-packed pouches of tobacco to tuck in your upper lip. Nicotine is absorbed through your lip.
The Swedes love it, saying it is a great way to reduce the incidence of lung cancer (and other forms) because there is no smoke to inhale.
Not hard to see kids snagging on to the use of Snus. There is no telltale lump in the lip and you don’t spit.
What the pusher was most excited about were the new style Nicotine Delivery Systems from Camel:
- Orbs which were describe to me as being “like a Tic-Tac or Altoid.” The idea behind this smokeless-spitless tobacco was the idea “you can just pop it in your mouth.”
- Sticks – tobacco shaped in the form of a “toothpick” to deliver the nicotine.
- Strips – tobacco embedded in dissolvable pieces of paper “like a breath freshener.”
These things will also dissolve your teeth and turn your gums black — but Camel figure that no-one in Indianapolis, Columbus or Portland OR really cares about that anymore.
I’m in the camp that these products aren’t for people who want to quit smoking, they are designed to make tobacco MORE attractive to non-smokers.
Tobacco companies have an entirely different goal in mind – they are targeting a much younger crowd of young adults and any kids they can entice along the way – witness the tagline for Camel SNUS: “Pleasure for wherever.”
John Britton, MD, Chair of the Royal College of Physicians Tobacco Advisory Group, a proponent of the use of harm reduction therapy, “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.”
R.J. Reynolds is targeting kids with these new products. In Kentucky, it’s apparently very easy for a kid to get cigarettes because the mall entrance and other kid hang-outs is covered up with kids smoking. When the Orbs, Sticks, and Strips are available these kids will just add these to their daily intake of nicotine because they can walk the mall (or school) and use the smokeless, then step outside and light ’em up.
I’d like to be a fly on the wall when the Obama kids drag home these Camel Smokeless tobacco products.