Smokeless Tobacco…as chewing gum?

Will the next wave of smokeless tobacco products be chewing gum?

Yesterday’s article in the Wall Street Journal is filled with LOTS of important information about one of the world’s largest tobacco companies.   My goal is to sort through all of the economic buzzwords to provide an easy-to-read summary that people of all ages and backgrounds can understand.

WHO:  Altria

–       One of the world’s largest tobacco corporations

–       Previously Philip Morris Companies Inc. but was changed to Altria in 2003

–       Products include tobacco & wine

–       Brand names you might recognize: Marlboro, Peter Jackson, Benson & Hedges, Players

WHAT: Total cigarette volume grew 0.2% while smokeless products volume jumped 9.7%[1]

–       There was an increase in the number of smokeless products being made and sold

–       Examples of smokeless tobacco products include snuff and chewing tobacco

–       Brand names you might recognize: Copenhagen and Skoal

 

WHERE: Altria is based in Henrico County, Virginia, but their products are sold worldwide.

WHY:  There is a growing interest in smokeless tobacco products.

–       New product launches such as Copenhagen’s Wintergreen pouches (see picture for an example of pouches[2]) have also been credited for this increase in sales.

WHAT’S NEXT:  Altria will be working with medical-chewing gum manufacturer Fertin Pharma to develop smokeless tobacco products.

This is not the first time that a tobacco company has been involved with the nicotine-replacement-therapy business (Reynolds American – 2009)[1], but I am concerned that the next wave of tobacco products will come in the form of chewing gum.  Chewing gum is very common, especially among youth.  Not to mention the different flavours, packaging and other marketing tactics that are currently used with regular gum.  Is it a stretch to propose that tobacco companies will collaborate with nicotine-replacement-therapy businesses to sell nicotine gum as the next step in “harm reduction”?  I am supportive of people quitting, but I fear that this could also create new sources of misconception about health risks, and perhaps a gateway tobacco product for youth.

Based on the growing interest and sales in smokeless tobacco products, I would say that this is something to be watchful of in the future.  What do you think?

[1]http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20120127-710467.html

[2] http://www.cigarettesflavours.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/low-nicotine-product.jpg

Katie M

One thought on “Smokeless Tobacco…as chewing gum?

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