What is also remarkable is that I was interviewed by Mr. Newman along with some bigger names in the debate, and that I get the last word. I have to thank my former Gallaher colleague Ms. Rupini Bergstrom, who was a point person on the piece, and is now in Press Relations for Swedish Match in Stockholm, for recommending me as an independent voice. I did mention SnusCENTRAL numerous times, but, alas, it didn't make the cut. [Editors Note: Should never have spilled my drink on Andrew Adam Newman at the last Pulitzer Award dinner. It was not intentional. LW]
Newman regularly reports on trends in consumer goods and how they are marketed, and his column is an unusual place in the Times for serious discussion of a contentious issue related to tobacco. Interesting issues: Are there two different types of addiction from complementary use? And is snus as a way to promote identically branded smokes and avoid the new black and white cigarette press and point-of-sale ads required next year by the FDA? In my opinion, the former is worth a look, while the latter is paranoid blather.
One thing Mr. Newman asked me was "am I outraged" that cigarette companies would try to sell snus as a complementary product to cigarettes? My answer was "No. I totally understand it. These guys are in the business of making money, and they produce a legal product called cigarettes. Cigarettes are bad, and it's worse for public health if snus is sold alongside cigarettes than as a reduced harm alternative. But in an environment which is becoming increasingly more restrictive, smokers are smoking less. Better to keep 'em smoking and replace the lost sticks with snus than with lost revenue And I understand the mindset."
Live from New York on SnusCENTRAL.org