Smokeless Cigarettes Tempt My Kids

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is a favorite organization of mine and they have recently made an interesting announcement that should concern moms everywhere.  It seems that the tobacco company R.J. Reynolds is test marketing a new smokeless tobacco product.  The reason this is a threat to my kids is because the lack of smoke makes it easier for them to smoke behind my back undetected.

The new cigarettes come in what the company calls fresh and mellow flavors and are packaged like gum and candy. They also look like a pack of camels which is on one of the most popular of tobacco products among teenagers.  The introduction of these new smokeless products emphasizes that need for Congress to pass pending legislation that grants the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulatory authority over all tobacco products.

 The last thing that kids need is yet another product that encourages them to become addicted to nicotine addiction. The product is flavored and packaged like candy so that they are easier to conceal in a jacket and hide from us. The cigarette box looks like candy packaging.

These smokeless cigarettes are also likely to discourage smokers from quitting by enabling them to smoke in 'smoke-free' environments. Smokers concerned about their health should not be fooled by these new tobacco products and should still try to quit, by taking FDA-approved medications and attending counseling.

RJR’s new products add to a growing list of novel products tobacco companies have introduced recently in their relentless efforts to recruit new youth users, create and sustain addiction to nicotine, and discourage current users from quitting. The tobacco industry will continue to get away with these harmful practices until Congress ends the industry’s regulatory exemption and passes legislation granting the FDA authority over tobacco products. Under this legislation, a government agency will finally have authority over what tobacco companies put in their products, how they market them, the health claims they make and what they disclose about their products’ contents and impact on health.

On July 30, the U.S. House of Representatives approved this legislation by a vote of 326 to 102. There is also overwhelming support in the Senate, where the bill has 60 sponsors and several other senators who have indicated support. It is critical that Congress enact this bill into law at the earliest opportunity. Until Congress acts, kids and consumers will continue to be human guinea pigs in the tobacco industry’s deadly experiments.

R.J. Reynolds’ new products are being test-marketed in Columbus, Ohio, Portland, Oregon, and Indianapolis.