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Kid- friendly gum or smokeless tobacco?

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 OMellow and OFresh 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.

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 grademales), 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.

The Monitoring the Future Survey Data is available. Click here.

 


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This website was developed,  in part, under a grant number SP 14395-07 from the Office of National Drug Control Policy and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The views, policies, and opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of ONDCP, SAMHSA or HHS.