Saturday, February 6, 2010

Orbs, Strips, Sticks and the CTP

How did that one grab you? Okay let us start with the end. CTP is the Center for Tobacco Products. This is a new department that was created after the FDA gained the right to regulate tobacco in the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.

Orbs, Strips and Sticks are tobacco products being marketed by RJ Reynolds (parent company Reynolds American) that are smokeless. Also involved in this story are products called Ariva and Stonewall tablets. All of these deliver nicotine to the user without the use of a cigarette. They are likely safer than smoking and maybe even safer than snuff, chew or betel quid, but they are not without risk. Nicotine is a psychoactive drug. It alters one's mood and it is addictive.

So RJR and Star Scientific, which owns the two other products, have just received letters from this newly created CTP. The letters are requesting (demanding) information from both companies on these products, who is using them and what adverse effects have been found through the companies own research. The Center for Tobacco Products is concerned because these items are flavored and subtle and appear to be targeted to our youth. Of issue is that they may in and of themselves cause harm - and they may lead to a case of addiction which leads the user to seek out a product that delivers more nicotine more quickly, i.e. cigarettes.

Apparently, the CTP thinks that the idea that the product is meant for current adult smokers is hogwash. Current adult smokers are doing two things that make this somewhat unlikely. They are quitting smoking and/or they are dieing. It is also expected that if the companies ARE targeting these current smokers, they want them to continue to smoke while using the tic tac or tooth pick or breath strip like products in times and places where they cannot smoke.

I am glad the FDA/CTP and Office on Smoking and Health are being proactive. In reading this however, I recalled that Phillip Morris, parent company Altria, did NOT oppose the FDA regulation and RJR did. People who follow these types of things posited that the reason was PM did not want anyone else to get into the smokeless market. AHA. PM owns USST which makes Skoal or Copenhagen or both, I cannot remember, but that snuff has far far more market share then these products I mentioned today. If PM can keep the traditional smokeless tobacco, chew or dip, the choice of current and former smokers, and the other products don't make it to market, well, they make the money don't they!

PS, tobacco kills......

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