Friday, May 15, 2009

No smoking, no e-cigs, it's Nicorettes or nothing

It looks like the Nicorettes or nothing crowd in the anti-smoker brigade have got their knickers in a knot . . . again. This time the wailing and gnashing of teeth is over the test marketing of several new products by RJ Reynolds Tobacco.

The manufacturer of Camel cigarettes is testing consumer interest in dissolvable tobacco products. One such product, Camel Orbs, comes in the form of a pellet which is designed to “melt in the mouth". Others include Camel Sticks, a twisted stick the size of a toothpick and Camel Strips, a dissolvable film strip which is placed on the tongue.

All three products are designed to deliver nicotine to the user in much the same way as Nicorette gum and lozenges, free of the toxins allegedly found in conventional tobacco products..

Reynolds spokesperson Maura Payne says: "Consumer research has found that adult tobacco consumers have wanted another option for using tobacco where it wasn't comfortable or they weren't permitted to smoke."

And, thanks to the anti-smoker extremists, the number of places where smokers are forbidden to light up has grown considerably over the last couple of years.

But, why are the fanatics already denouncing the new products and demanding they be banned? After all, they will reduce the use of conventional tobacco products and that’s in the best interests of public health, isn’t it?

Not according to Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids. Says Myers: "These products appear to be part of a continuing effort by RJR and other tobacco companies to get around the growing number of smoke-free laws and give smokers new ways to sustain their addiction in places they cannot smoke.”

But, aren’t Nicorette gum and lozenges also marketed for the same purpose; to provide a nicotine hit in circumstances where smoking is prohibited? What’s the difference? Why should pharmaceutical nicotine products be pushed by the anti-smoker cult while they demand similar products from the tobacco industry be banned?

And, if dissolvable nicotine products circumvent smoking bans, so what? The purpose of the smoking bans was, supposedly, to protect non-smokers from the alleged hazards of secondhand smoke, wasn’t it? And, won’t Camel Orbs and other products do just that?

The truth is smoking bans weren’t meant to protect anyone from next to the non-existent hazards of secondhand smoke. They were meant to force smokers to quit. But, that’s another issue.

Says Myers: "These products are flavored and packaged like candy, and very likely will appeal to children."

But, Nicorettes also come in a wide variety of flavours; cherry, mint, etc. Why should Camel Orbs be any more appealing to kids than Nicorettes?

I suspect the real reason for the opposition to the new product line is the same as their opposition to the electronic cigarette. They represent serious competition for nicotine products sold by the drug companies. And, if smokers are provided with any choice, it is the drug companies which are likely to suffer most.

The anti-smoker cult receives a substantial amount of funding from the pharmaceutical industry. If the drug companies start losing sales of their nicotine products to the electronic cigarettes or other reduced risk tobacco products, that funding will be in jeopardy.

In addition, the e-cig and the dissolvable nicotine products represent another threat to the anti-smoker cult. They have the potential to substantially reduce conventional cigarette consumption. The result would be a significant loss in tax revenue on taxable tobacco products, from which comes another major source of funding for the Holy Church of the Anti-Smoker.

Alternative nicotine delivery systems have the potential to save lives. Why are these “public health” groups so opposed to their introduction into the marketplace? Are they really willing to continue exposing the public to the alleged hazards of conventional cigarettes to protect the bottom line of their pharmaceutical sponsors?

The new nicotine delivery products should be tested for safety on the same basis as those sold for smoking cessation. It should be done as quickly and efficiently as possible. And, marketing of both should be restricted to adults.

But an outright ban is most likely not in the best interests of public health.


George said...

"dissolvable nicotine products circumvent smoking bans" obviously they don't circumvent anything - they COMPLY with smoking bans. how much more do they want from us?

Michael J. McFadden said...

I used to harbor at least SOME doubts as to whether Myers and some of his cohorts might actually be among "The Idealists" rather than "The Greedy"

(See: for background )

This latest nonsense blows those doubts right out the window. The absolute absurdity of accepting and supporting "Nicotine Delivery Systems" if they come from Big Pharma but attacking them if they come from anyone else really only leaves one explanation out there: By and large, maybe not *universally* but by and large these yokels are in it for the money.

Michael J. McFadden
Author of "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains"