R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. wants cigarette smokers to consider Snus if they are trying to quit.
According to the Winston-Salem Journal, the giant tobacco company has launched a national campaign marketing Camel Snus as a potential New Year’s Resolution solution for smokers. It’s the company’s first campaign aimed specifically at encouraging smokers to switch to Camel Snus, according to David Howard, a Reynolds spokesman.
“A lot of adults make a decision to quit smoking this time of the year,” said Howard in the report. “For those making that attempt, but still wanting the pleasure of tobacco, we’re saying ‘Here’s an option.”
Reynolds has run ads in large-circulation magazines such as Entertainment Weekly, People, Sports Illustrated, Time and US Weekly, as well as free and alternative publications, according to the report.
In the “2011 smoke-free resolution” ad, Reynolds said it supports smokers who have decided to quit using tobacco. “But if you’re looking for smoke-free, spit-free, drama-free tobacco pleasure, Camel Snus is your answer,” the ad’s text reads.
The ads also contain a large warning that “smokeless tobacco is addictive.”
Howard said that the “drama-free” reference is aimed at adults who want to use tobacco products in restaurants, bars and other social outlets where smoking is discouraged or banned.
Reynolds’ print ads are part of a “take the pleasure switch challenge” campaign tied to an age-restricted Camel Snus Web site.
As might have been expected, some anti-smoking groups are upset by the ads.
“The ads are trying to take advantage of people trying to end all uses of tobacco,” said Matt Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “If a smoker does that, switch to smokeless, they’ll be worse off than if they had quit.”
Snus comes in a small pouch that is placed between the lip and gum. The tobacco is pasteurized, not fermented, and it contains less moisture and salt than moist snuff. It also does not require the consumer to spit.
Although Reynolds does not dictate the price of Camel Snus at retail, the price is comparable to a premium pack of cigarettes, which typically sells for $4 to $4.50 in North Carolina.
Reynolds began its first trial of Camel Snus in April 2006, with national distribution commencing in January 2009. The ads do not make any claims of reduced health risks with a potential switch.
Some anti-smoking advocates are encouraging the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to allow the advertising of smokeless tobacco as less harmful than cigarettes if such claims can be proven through research. But other anti-tobacco advocates oppose marketing smokeless products under cigarettes’ brand names because of those brands’ appeal to youth, according to the Winston-Salem Journal report.