R.J. Reynolds Pulls Sticks, Strips, and Orbs from Test Markets

Tobacco giant R.J. Reynolds quietly announced their intent to pull the Camel Dissolvables line of smokeless tobacco products from current tests markets: Columbus, OH, Indianapolis, IN and Portland, OR.

Customers received word about the product removal through a letter sent from R.J. Reynolds. At the same time, customers were reminded of the many other smokeless tobacco products available and were invited to use the included coupon to try them at a discounted price.

Camel’s Sticks, Strips and Orbs drew controversy due to their easy-to-conceal packaging, which looks similar to gum or candy, and their kid-friendly ‘Mellow’ and ‘Fresh’ flavors. According to a Camel consumer relations representative, while the products are being pulled for “further refinement,” information for potential re-design and other possible test markets have not been identified.

While the products removal is hailed as a positive step by prevention advocates, smokeless tobacco products are gaining popularity among youth.

Newly released survey results from Monitoring the Future show a significant increase in the use of smokeless tobacco among eighth, tenth and twelfth graders.

From the mid-1990’s to the early 2000s, there was a steady decline in smokeless tobacco use (which includes snuff, plug, dipping tobacco, chewing tobacco and Snus) and monthly use fell by one-third to one-half. But that decline has ended and a clear rebound in use is evident.

According to the Monitoring the Future survey, 30-day prevalence of smokeless tobacco use in 2010 is 4.1% (among eighth graders), 7.5% (among tenth graders) and 8.5% (among twelfth graders). The rates specific to male students however, are considerably higher at 6.3% (among eighth grade males), 13.0% (among tenth grade males) and 15.7% (among twelfth grade males).

The perceived risk of using smokeless tobacco increased among this age group from 1995 to 2004, before leveling off. That perceived risk has not shown to have decreased, yet use has increased, indicating that other factors are likely involved – quite possibly due to an increased advertising of these products and a proliferation of types of smokeless tobacco available.

Camel’s Sticks, Strips and Orbs drew controversy due to their easy-to-conceal packaging, which looks similar to gum or candy, and their kid-friendly ‘Mellow’ and ‘Fresh’ flavors. According to a Camel consumer relations representative, while the products are being pulled for “further refinement,” information for potential re-design and other possible test markets have not been identified.

Source: http://www.DrugFreeActionAlliance.org

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