Thursday, 24 February 2011 10:35

Marlboro Sticks and Skoal Sticks coming says Altria

Written by Larry Waters
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Altria announced yesterday that it will be introducing Skoal Sticks and Marlboro Sticks into Kansas test markets in March 2011..  In doing so, Altria continues on its course of do whatever Reynolds does even if we don't know quite why.

A fuming Matt Myers of CTFK....we think.Anti-all-tobacco extremist groups like CTFK/ACS/AHa/ALA are in an uproar.  They had declared victory when Reynolds announced they were pulling the Camel Dissolvables from their two test markets.  Mission Accomplished, Matt Myers of Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids!.

The victory was short-lived as Reynolds then announced they would start marketing the Camel Dissolvable products in two new test markets - Denver and Charlotte.  And now Altria stumbles into the dissolvables marketplace with Marlboro Sticks and Skoal Sticks.

In a story published earlier this week, David Howard of RJ Reynolds spoke to me about the Camel smoke-free productsCamel SNUS, Camel Orbs, Camel Strips, and Camel Sticks.  The last three are dissolvable tobacco products.  During this interview, Howard became quite animated over the continued use by anti-all-tobacco extremists of descriptors like Chewing Gum, Mint and Candy when bashing dissolvable tobacco products.

"Camel Dissolvables are only for and marketed to adult tobacco consumers.  We make that very clear in our advertising and point of sale materials.  The products are clearly labeled with all required tobacco warning labels, are sold from behind the counter like other tobacco products, and can only be sold to adults legally of age to purchase tobacco products in that State", Howard stated.

Those same extremists wasted no time in making the same charge against the new Altria dissolvable products coming out under the Marlboro and Skoal brand names.  Ironically, Big Pharma; the makers of nicotine chewing gum which come in flavors such as Cherry, White Ice Mint, Fruit Chill, Cinnamon Surge and FreshMint, petitioned FDA to force the removal of Camel Dissolvable products from the market last year.  Their hypocrisy is striking, yet sadly familiar.

Leading Anti-Cigarette/Pro-Reduced Harm Tobacco Products Advocate Bill GodshallBill Godshall, Exective Director of Smokefree Pennslyvania, has long been leading the charge to reduce and eliminate cigarette smoking by providing smokefree alternatives to existing smokers.  As Bill's position exhibits common sense and compassion for the nicotine-addicted, many of his former anti-cigarette allies have shunned him in horror.

In an interview published today by Richard Carver in the Winston-Salem Journal, Godshall summed up the fear of the anti-all-tobacco extremists quite simply.  "The reason anti-tobacco extremists falsely claim that dissolvable smokeless products are target marketed to youth is because they don't want adult smokers to switch to these far less hazardous alternatives."

As to the perpetual use of the words candy, mints, and gum by these same extremists, Godshall had this to say, "Anyone who truly desires to reduce youth tobacco use would never call these products candy, as doing so encourages youth usage."

 

Marlboro Sticks and Skoal Sticks:  What are they?

According to Altria, both Marlboro and Skoal Sticks are "Finely-milled tobacco coated on a 2 ½ inch birch wood dowel".  Oh doesn't that sound tasty!  Practical too: when youWow; Marlboro Sticks. can't smoke during a business meeting, you instead pull out a 2 ½ inch birch wood dowel with flavored tobacco plastered on and start chewing on it?  Won't your boss be impressed!  What about the danger of getting splinters in your lips or tongue?  Are there any warning labels on Marlboro or Skoal Sticks highlighting this frightening possibility?

The SnusCIA is also looking into rumors that PETA is investigating the Altria tobacco sticks.  Was animal testing involved?  Are there now nicotine-addicted beavers damming multiple streams and creeks at the same time?

Have the mating habits of these same beavers been altered?  Do the males now crave a Skoal Rich Tobacco Stick after sex?  Suspiciously, Altria has released no information either way concerning possible beaver abuse.  It's almost as though Altria has no idea the beaver abuse allegations exist.  We'll have to see what develops.

Altria released two documents; Introduction of Marlboro and Skoal Smokeless Tobacco Sticks and a New Product Fact Sheet on both Marlboro and Skoal Sticks.  Aside from the packaging and product placement at retail, there doesn't seem to be any real difference between the two products.

Both come in the identical flavors:  Rich Tobacco Sticks, Original Tobacco Sticks, Mint Tobacco Sticks and Smooth Mint Tobacco Sticks.  Ten twigs or sticks or dowels....whatever you want to call them, come in a package.

The only difference seems to be the Skoal Sticks are to placed with the smokeless tobacco products at retail while the Marlboro Sticks will be displayed with cigarettes.  I guess Altria is trying to kill two birds with one stick, so to speak.  I wonder if blind-folded tobacco consumers could even tell the difference between the Marlboro and Skoal Sticks?  Doubtful but we may never know....too much danger of a blind-folded test subject poking out an eye or spearing a lip.

Does Altria even have a Tobacco Strategy?

You would think the King of Big American Tobacco would have a tobacco strategy of their own.  So far, especially with smokefree products, I would sum up Altria's strategy as notSkoal Sticks...no wait, Marlboro Sticks...no, Skoal Sticks really having a clue but sensing Reynolds may be onto something so Altria needs to be in the game.  Reminds me of the Reagan years where the Soviet Union bankrupted itself trying to create their own version of SDI.

No danger of Altria going bankrupt.  They can afford to keep their toe in the smokefree water for as long as they like.  When it comes to innovation and new smokefree products which will aid the nicotine-addicted in quitting cigarettes for good, just don't look to the Marlboro or Skoal brands.

More on Altira's Marlboro Snus and Skoal Snus coming soon.......

LARRY WATERS
FORMER Smoker; CURRENT Swedish Snus User
Reporting for SnusCENTRAL.org

Read 13132 times Last modified on Saturday, 14 December 2013 00:03

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