The R.J. Reynolds tobacco company is taking its dissolvable tobacco products off the shelves in its American test markets, according to a Dec. 17 email from Ohio-based Drug Free Action Alliance.
The products — Camel Sticks, Strips, and Orbs — were being tested in Columbus, Ohio, Indianapolis, Ind., and Portland, Ore. According to a letter from R.J. Reynolds (PDF), the products were removed for “further refinements.” The company said in the letter it plans to “reintroduce Camel Dissolvables in the future.” It did not specify where or when they might be reintroduced.
Health advocates have opposed dissovable tobacco products for being too attractive to children. The products’ packaging is similar to that used for candy and gum, with flavors the Drug Free Action Alliance described as “kid-friendly.”
According to the Alliance, the annual Monitoring the Future survey showed a significant decline in the use of smokeless tobacco by teens in middle school and high school between the mid-1990s and the beginning of the 2000s.
This year’s results from the survey showed that use is increasing. Among twelfth graders overall, for example, 8.5 percent reported using smokeless tobacco in the past month. When the data is narrowed to males only, the number of users — 15.7 percent — nearly doubled.