Tobacco

Camel Snus in the Smoke-Free Tent

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The Winston-Salem Journal reports that R.J. Reynolds is expanding its test marketing of Camel Snus, a Swedish-style oral snuff that comes in little pouches that users place between the lip and gum. Bill Godshall, executive director of SmokeFree Pennsylvania and one of the few anti-smoking activists who has endorsed smokeless tobacco as a harm-reducing alternative to cigarettes, welcomes the move:

Reynolds' expansion of its test market for snus will provide millions of smokers with less-hazardous alternatives to cigarettes, which is welcom[e] news. It makes sense for Reynolds to gradually expand its test market for snus, as it's a new and entirely different product than cigarettes….Although smokeless tobacco is just as addictive as cigarettes, and should not be used by those who are not addicted to nicotine, cigarettes are about 100 times deadlier than smokeless-tobacco products.

Representing the orthodox quit-or-die position is Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids:

Every new city RJR picked has a clean-air law. This is about RJR doing everything they can to keep people from quitting.

Remember when anti-tobacco activists used to pretend that smoking bans were aimed at protecting bystanders from secondhand smoke? In case you're worried about secondhand saliva, R.J. Reynolds notes that its snus "does not require the consumer to spit." 

Godshall co-authored an article about smokeless tobacco that appeared in the December 2006 Harm Reduction Journal. In my column last week, I noted that FDA regulation of tobacco products could impair competition between cigarettes and smokeless tobacco.

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  1. I prefer the real stuff from Sweden. I will say this, though-Snus is effective at eliminating the nicotine jones and everything I’ve read indicates that it’s vastly, vastly less dangerous than cigarettes.

  2. Snus is pretty good. The stuff from Sweden, anyway, but it’s damn hard to find here in the states (I’ve ordered it from overseas). I’m going to give this Camel stuff a try and see what it’s like if I can find some.

    I will try to not exhale poisonous tobacco fumes in anyone’s general direction.

  3. So, with these imitation Skoal Bandits optional spitting is supposed to be a feature?

  4. I agree with Guy,

    I chew and it seems that without the spitting all we have is nicorette. I am not familiar with snus at all though.

  5. Quick! What are some good dental care related companies to invest in?!

  6. Remember when anti-tobacco activists used to pretend that smoking bans were aimed at protecting bystanders from secondhand smoke?

    They fuckin’ swore to it. Puritanical, lying, busybody assholes is the term that comes immediately to mind when I read the unmitigated bullcrap that comes out of people like Matthew Myers’ mouthes.

  7. It’s the war on drugs mentality. Tobacco is bad because it’s bad. So is alcohol.

  8. Just like the crazier gun-controllers hate guns, the crazier anti-smokers hate tobacco. Making it safer is meaningless, they want it gone.

  9. “Remember when anti-tobacco activists used to pretend that smoking bans were aimed at protecting bystanders from secondhand smoke?”

    Here in Santa Cruz CA, the county supervisors passed an ordinance forbidding the possession or use of any tobacco products in county parks. Not being a tobacco user myself, I wrote to my County Supervisor in protest, saying that while I could understand (though not agree with) a ban on tobacco smoking in the parks, the ban of possession or use of any tobacco product was just unacceptable.

    The Supervisor replied, declaring that we would just have to “agree to disagree” on the issue, citing the county’s huge expense for “tobacco-related medical care.” So the real answer here is that, because the socialists (calling themselves “progressives”) in our area decided that it would be “compassionate” to foot the bill for some people’s health problems, they have now “compassionately” decided to reduce everyone’s freedom of behavior as the price of that “compassion.”

    This is, of course, the inevitable end point of making the government responsible for expenses that are in large part determined by human decisions. Eventually, government must act to constrain the range of those decisions, in order to “cut costs.” So much the better if the cost-cutting efforts are also consistent with the prevailing ideological orthodoxy.

    By the way, those same Supervisors recently voted themselves a hefty raise. I guess concocting their local form of petty tyranny is hard work, and we need to attract the best and brightest to the task. I am so looking forward to the chance to oust everyone who voted for this overreaching anti-tobacco law, not to mention the obscene salary raise in a time of economic retrenchment for those who don’t have the advantage of setting their own salaries.

  10. From my white, cancerous gums!

  11. The lack of spitting is a real safety feature since the greatest health risk from smokeless tobacco is a broken jaw resulting from accidentally spitting in someone else soda prior to their drinking from it.

  12. Remember when anti-tobacco activists used to pretend that smoking bans were aimed at protecting bystanders from secondhand smoke?

    Memories…

  13. The lack of spitting is a real safety feature since the greatest health risk from smokeless tobacco is a broken jaw resulting from accidentally spitting in someone else soda prior to their drinking from it.

    Ugh. My freshman year of college I was on a floor with mostly football players, all of whom seemingly chewed. There’s nothing more disgusting than finding a plastic cup or Pepsi bottle half-filled with tobacco spit sitting in the hallway, or on top of the water fountain, or on the table in the lounge, etc. I’d love to see this stuff replace chew for that reason alone…

  14. About 30 years ago, flummoxed as to what to do with all those pesky stems and seeds, we came upon the solution of crushing them up, mixing them in with Skoal or Copenhagen, and floating through baseball and track practice with a mild contact buzz (our school anti-tobacco “pledge” only applied to the smoked kind; you could dip on campus, just not during class).

    On a dare one of my friends once drank a cup a of his tobacco spit (we were chewing Red Man at the time, so it already had the smell and consistency of cough syrup). He added about two spoonfuls of sugar to the cup, knocked it back, and started vomiting about 2 minutes later. He puked for about an hour, as I recall, and as he lay curled in the fetal position clutching his gut, we all laughed our asses off and spit tobacco juice on him. Did I mention we were drunk? Ah, youth……

  15. 50 years ago we spelled it snoose….

    Can I carry concealed in Santa Cruz parks….?

  16. I tried some of the Camel stuff when it first hit the Dallas test market. The Swedish stuff is much better. I order mine from http://www.buysnus.com. Great service, and their postal delivery option is cheap and fast.

  17. Frankly, the Camel stuff is candy compared to the real thing from Sweden.

  18. But the tobacco-free activists mean well, and that’s all that matters.

  19. Full disclosure: I work for a tobacco company, but I am NOT speaking on behalf of the company or advocating tobacco use in any way. I’m just a regular reader of Reason like anyone else here.

    I smoke hand-rolled cigarettes (with filters), because they are greatly less expensive than machine-made cigarettes, which are taxed to death, and because hand-rolled cigs taste much, much better. I intend to quit smoking and switch to snus.

    OK, Swedish-style snus doesn’t make you spit; it doesn’t create hardly any saliva at all — it is unlike other smokeless tobaccos, e.g. Copenhagnen, Skoal, etc. Snus is not dip and should not be compared to Skoal’s pouches. The only similarity is the pouches, yet the two products are entirely different in how they are manufactured.

    So that we are very clear, all tobacco products (snus included) are potentially harmful, and long-term use of tobacco increases the chance of diseases associated with tobacco. There is far less potential for harm with snus than with smoking cigarettes.

    I’m not sure if all tobacco products will be banned some day, but I do foresee very strict legislation making it increasingly harder to obtain. Once that happens, our nannies will have to find other addictive substances to ban, say, for instance, coffee (caffeine). How many people simply cannot function without 1, 2, 10 cups a day? Hundreds of millions. Think about the chaos!

  20. An old dipping friend of mine used to that dipping with Skoal Bandits is like sucking a tittie through a bra – just not as much fun.

  21. I am dipping the long-cut Skoal right now. The bandits, or pouches are okay by me and a little neater in your mouth.

  22. In my neighborhood one of the gas stations gives everyone who buys cigarettes a packet of camel snus for free, since it apparently isn’t selling at all in Columbus, OH.

    If the late-night clerk is to be believed, they can’t get rid of the stuff.

  23. I prefer tobacco-less smoke, myself.

  24. I’ve been using the Camel SNUs since they came to NYC. I like the minty fresh ones. They’re great.

    I got my wife addicted, and she doesn’t even smoke!

  25. But the tobacco-free activists mean well, and that’s all that matters.

    The road to hell won’t pave itself.

  26. First time reader, long time commenter,

    The chicks I date, no matter how much of that pre-programmed, elitist, revulsion they express for smokeless tobacco, all prefer the taste of mint Skoal on me over wintergreen.

  27. Prefer buying swedish snus and i can recommend http://www.buysnus.com

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