FDA is Worried Dissolvable Tobacco is Aimed at Kids

Published on February 8th, 2010 12:44

American Food and Drug Administration officials are willing to receive more data about the potential temptation and addiction dissolvable smokeless tobacco can pose to consumers and especially adolescents, as health officials are concerned these products can serve as a gateway to cigarette smoking.

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Such tobacco items, produced mainly by RJ Reynolds and Star Scientific include powder-like dissolvable tobacco and are selling in colorful packs and in a large number of flavors, including mint and chocolate. RJR is currently test-markets dissolvable products using its flagship brand Camel.

Tobacco giants have claimed that new products, among which there are also dissolvable pills, are intended for adult consumers who have to deal with strict anti-smoking policies and for those who are eager to give up smoking.

However, the FDA sent open letters to Star Scientific and Reynolds American, where the agency has expressed its concerns about the positive attitude of teenagers to these products. The letters, revealed last week were saying that the consumption of those products could result in becoming addicted to nicotine and even trigger health complications.

Whereas regulations differ from state to state, the greater part of them permits sales of tobacco products only to individuals aged 18 and older. Director of FDA center on Tobacco, Lawrence Deyton stated that the agency is worried kids and teenagers could consider dissolvable smokeless tobacco to be especially attractive, because of their colorful packaging, numerous flavors and convenient size, which is very easy to hide in purses and wallets.

The inquiries appear when the FDA gets ready to open its first meeting on tobacco products, which is set to be held later in spring. Agency authorities have quickly decided to test their new regulatory powers over tobacco industry that they received after Tobacco Control Act was signed into law last July.

Any initiative by the Agency to continue overseeing or simply prohibit dissolvable smokeless tobacco items from sales on the national tobacco market would be a significant hit for Star Scientific. This former cigarette maker has turned its attention to producing products that are less harmful for consumers, according to the company reports.

Sara Troy Machir, senior communications manager for Star Scientific, admitted they expected such inquiry from Food and Drug Administration and are willing to collaborate. “We will gladly provide FDA experts with all the required information, about our flagship brands – Stonewall and Ariva which have been selling on US market for more than a decade,” added the spokeswoman.

R.J. Reynolds spokesman was not available to comment upon the request. The Camel-maker has launched three kinds of similar smokeless tobacco products, all under Camel brands, which contain dissolvable nicotine solutions in tablets, strips, orbs and other forms.

Whereas the FDA in its requests to the companies admitted their brands are intended for adults, nevertheless, it required from both producers thorough data on research and promotion strategies for their products. The Agency gave the two manufacturers 60 business days to respond.

By Kevin Lawson, Staff Writer. Copyright © 2010 TobaccoPub. All rights reserved.


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