Other Tobacco Products
Dissolvable Tobacco Products
Dissolvable tobacco products are one of the latest smokeless tobacco products on the market and don’t require the user to chew or even spit.
Although dissolvable tobacco products showed up beginning in 2001 with the introduction of Ariva lozenges and Stonewall Hard Snuff Tobacco dissolvable pellets, none of the major tobacco companies entered the market until 2009.
In 2009, RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company began test-marketing its three dissolvable tobacco products under the Camel brand name.
Types of Dissolvable Tobacco Products
There are three types of Camel dissolvable tobacco products still being test marketed in selected cities.
- The first are called Camel Orbs, which are mint-sized and last about 10- 15 minutes each before melting away. Each orb contains about 1 milligram of nicotine, almost as much as one cigarette.
- The second are Camel Strips, which look like Listerine breath strips. The strip dissolves the quickest of the new products- about 2- 3 minutes- and contains about 0.6 milligrams of nicotine.
- The third are Camel Sticks, which look like toothpicks. The stick lasts the longest of the three products, about 20-30 minutes each, and has the most nicotine, about 3.1 milligrams per stick, similar to the nicotine content in about two cigarettes.
Health Effects of Dissolvable Tobacco Products
Because these are newer and minimally studied products, little is known about the health effects of using any of these dissolvable tobacco products.
However, a major concern about these products is the risk for nicotine poisoning. From the introduction of Ariva in 2001, many public health agencies have claimed that dissolvable tobacco products pose a serious risk for unintentional poisonings in children and adolescents and should be more closely regulated. Currently, these dissolvable products remain unregulated by the FDA.
A 2010 study by the Harvard School of Public Health and Centers for Disease Control on unintentional child poisonings from ingestion of tobacco products also assessed the toxicity of the new Camel Orbs, which "are of concern due to their discreet form, candy-like appearance, and added flavorings that may be attractive to young children” (Pediatrics, 2010). The study examined two flavors of Camel Orbs to find that much of the nicotine is in a form that makes it absorb more quickly in the mouth, making the nicotine more toxic.
Marketing Dissolvable Tobacco Products
RJ Reynolds began trying to sell the Camel Orbs in January 2009 in Portland, Oregon, Columbus, Ohio, and Indianapolis. The Camel Strips and Sticks hit test markets in the same cities in July 2009.
Although the tobacco companies say that these products are made for adults, many health workers and lawmakers disagree. The products are flavored and labeled either “Mellow” or “Fresh,” and they are packaged and sold in shiny cases. Some of the packaging looks like cell phones, and others look just like breath mints or candy, which could appeal to children.
Lawmakers pushed to have dissolvable products more closely studied under the new FDA Regulation of Tobacco Products law that was signed by President Obama in June 2009. In fact, under the new FDA authority, a committee must issue a report on the impact of dissolvable tobacco products on public health, especially among youth.
In 2012, the FDA’s Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee report studying the products presented its first findings on dissolvable tobacco products. The panel found that there's still a lack of research on the products. They also concluded that the availability of dissolvable tobacco products might make people think tobacco in general is safer. Beyond anecdotal evidence, the committee said it found no information on whether dissolvable tobacco products would make cigarette smokers more likely to quit.
On December 18, 2012, Star Scientific, which makes Ariva, announced it would stop making and selling its dissolvable tobacco products, citing decreasing sales and marketing challenges due to regulations contained in the Tobacco Control Act.