Friday, February 13, 2009

Devil in Disguise

Good Housekeeping covers Smokeless Tobacco ProductsAs I began skimming through my latest issue of Good Housekeeping, a one-column piece on page 83 of the March 2009 issue caught my eye. It was about three new products developed by R. J. Reynolds as alternatives to smoking.

From Good Housekeeping

R. J. Reynolds promotes itself as principled, creative, dynamic and passionate. Frankly, I don't get it.

Camel Orbs aren't the only dissolvable tobacco product in this new line, each of which includes a warning that THIS PRODUCT MAY CAUSE MOUTH CANCER. There's also Camel Sticks and Strips. Even though all these products are hazardous to health, they should help Big Tobacco continue to earn $$$. Creative indeed!

New RJR products

My main concern does not have to do with adults who have been smokers for years. I am a former, now reformed, smoker myself. But can't you just picture how easy it will be for kids to use these products in secret instead of smoking or having to spit like chewing tobacco requires.

Various organizations are concerned, like I am, about kids never taking up the addictive tobacco habit in any form.


  1. From my soapbox across the room:

    Even after visiting the alarmist websites that you've shared here, I don't think this is Big Tobacco's sneaky way to hook kids on their products, because I don't expect them to appeal to youth. I suspect there's two main reasons why children and teens pick up this unhealthy habit:

    • They live in a household with one or more smokers. Becoming smokers themselves isn't an unusual response to either tolerating a smoke-filled home environment or following a parent's example.

    • Kids oftentimes use cigarette smoking to promote an older-and-cooler persona, an image that dissolvable tobacco won't foster.

    And I absolutely don't believe that these products were developed with addicting a new generation in mind. With more and more municipalities banning smoking in all public buildings (to include restaurants and bars), I think they're actually a workable solution to the obstacles that current smokers face. Although kicking the habit is ultimately the best response, this might be just the ticket for adults who choose not to quit.

  2. Responding to Carla: Being the fickle person I am, you may just be right. I hope you are.

  3. "Even though all these products are hazardous to health, they should help the tobacco company continue to make $$$."

    To which they're perfectly entitled. They are, after all, a stockholder-held company whose purpose is to turn a profit.

    Although I think it's typical for anti-smoking organizations and their followers to suggest that earning money by marketing tobacco products is unethical, Big Tobacco's dollars are crucial to these organized groups. The Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi, for example, was funded 100% by Big Tobacco dollars, as are many others. Just imagine the fallout if the tobacco corporations were actually out of business.