FDA: Dissolvable tobacco could cut health risks
A Food and Drug Administration scientific advisory panel says dissolvable tobacco products could reduce health risks but also have the potential to increase the overall number of tobacco users.
Dissolvable tobacco is finely milled tobacco pressed into shapes like tablets that slowly dissolve in a user’s mouth.
Tobacco companies are focusing on cigarette alternatives — such as cigars, snuff and chewing tobacco, as well as other forms of nicotine delivery — for sales growth. The panel says the products are being marketed for use when tobacco consumers can’t smoke.
R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., which is owned by Reynolds American Inc. in Winston-Salem, N.C., is test-marketing dissolvable tablets, strips and a toothpick shape under the names Camel Orbs, Camel Strips and Camel Sticks in mint and other flavors. The orbs last about 15 minutes, the strips dissolve in five minutes or less and the sticks, which are slightly bigger than toothpicks, last 15 to 20 minutes.
Richmond-based Altria Group Inc., owner of the nation’s largest tobacco company, Philip Morris USA, also is test marketing wooden sticks coated with finely milled tobacco under the Marlboro brand.
The committee, however, 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.
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