I smoked RJRT products for over 30 years. Camel lights were the only light cigarette I enjoyed. And when they released Eclipse, the only "reduced harm" cigarette, I was ecstatic (even though I had to switch to menthol because the regulars should have never made it out of the lab)
Pre-snus, I wrote a number of articles praising Eclipse on this blog. If you don't know what they are, check my Table of Contents or do a search on my old blog, The Unloading Zone for Eclipse. I don't want to get off-topic except for this one quick story illustrating how I felt about RJRT and how it feels like I'm betraying a 30 relationship. It's not an easy thing to do but their release of Camel SNUS requires it. The American nicotine-addicted community must know the truth.
I attended an RJRT-sponsored focus group held for smokers of Eclipse cigarettes a few years back. It ran about two hours. We talked about how we felt about Eclipse, we cut up magazines and made posters expressing our feelings about Eclipse; all while the survey team observed from behind a huge sheet of one-way glass, took notes and recorded us.
Why would I and the other grown adult participants do such a seemingly silly thing? Because the survey company paid you $100 a gave you a free carton of Eclipse!
When the Focus Group was over and we were picking up our money and cigarettes at the front desk, a woman pulled me aside. She took the bag with my carton of Eclipse and went into an office. A minute later, she handed the bag back to me. It now contained not one, but 2 and a half cartons of Eclipse Menthol: all they had left. That's how passionate I was about Eclipse in the focus group.
And so, with regrets to Susan Ivey, the current CEO of RJRT, lets talk about Camel SNUS.
I will give RJRT credit for pasteurizing Camel SNUS to kill the TSNA's (carcinogens) and at least making an effort to make a snus. But they don't say how they pasteurized it, so while I'm sure some of the TSNA's were eliminated, they don't reveal the true TSNA content.
Unlike Philip Morris which produces a real snus in Sweden, the 1847, and knows better, I'm not aware of RJRT owning any snus producing facilities in Sweden. They are just following Philip Morris USA's cynical, exploitative tactics and marketing (at least I'd like to believe that). Or worse, the real reason I dreaded writing this last part of the series.
But enough excuses for RJRT. Lets get into it.
RJRT's Marketing Plan appears to be a much more sophisticated and subtle version of Philip Morris USA's: Call their product "SNUS" to associate it with Swedish Snus, and say and do anything and everything to imply their product is the same as Swedish Snus without actually saying it.
If they said Camel SNUS was the same as Swedish Snus, it would be false advertising. But if they just use the word "Sweden" now and again and talk about Swedish Snus as a stand-alone product, the unknowing American public, once they hit Google and start researching snus, will get the impression all snus's are the same.
This link will take you to the Official Camel Snus Website Main Page. You have to be a member to use the site. The links below to specific pages may not work or more likely, will kick you back to this page to register if you're not already a member or to log-in if you are. Go ahead if you qualify: it doesn't cost anything and after reading further, I think you're going to want to see the site; if for no other reason, you may not believe what I'm going to describe without seeing it for yourself. [NOTE: Reynolds Tobacco is a regular visitor to my website. Apparently this article struck a nerve. I revisited the Camel SNUS website and it seems they have "re-designed" a number of the points I highlight below out. But only where they could do so without losing their defense against false advertising. So a number remain. Susan Ivey may not have hired me, but she does apparently listen to what I have to say. Oh Ms. Ivey, I could have helped you legitimize Camel SNUS and still be profitable; just like Eclipse Cigarettes. (Dreams die hard, especially when you were a 30 year brand loyal customer) Well, back to reality and my original article./ Mr UNZ, Nov. 3, 2008].
For example, this page on the Official Camel SNUS Website is their Camel SNUS Introduction Page. It has a large row of attractive links with titles like "What is Snus", "Meet Inga", "All About Sweden", and others.
Camel SNUS, as you will read in a little in a little bit, is made in North Carolina, USA. Camel SNUS is a tobacco product sold only, at this point, in a limited number of test markets in the USA; not a travel agency. So why do they have an "All About Sweden" link?
When you hover over "All About Sweden", two sub-categories appear: "Guide to Visiting" and "Swedish Translator". Again, Camel SNUS is not a travel agency and I have never walked into a 7-Eleven or other convenience store and needed a Swedish Translation Guide to buy anything.
Hovering over "Meet Inga", a deliberate choice of a common Swedish girl's name, brings up "Inga's Introduction to Snus" and "Ask Inga".
"Ask Inga" opens a dialog box and an animated girl in Swedish Dress....and I've visited North Caroline and the mountainous, snowy background Inga is standing in front of doesn't look like the North Carolina I was in. Why, it almost looks like......SWEDEN!
I decided to be polite and talk to Inga. So I asked her, "What is the difference between snus made by Swedish Match and Camel SNUS?" She thought about it for a moment and replied "The Swiss have big banks. In Sweden, we have Snus!". Then she smiles and holds up a tin of CAMEL SNUS!
False advertising? Almost; in fact, right on the line. Camel does not list Sweden as a test-market area for Camel SNUS. But I'm sure they had their lawyers look it over before they posted it so it probably JUST misses False Advertising.........But the Very Strong IMPLICATION that Swedes use Camel SNUS? Definitely!
Waste of Money? Inga appears to be from a product line called Site Pals. They seem to be using the top of the line Artificial Intelligence version with a Custom Character, some other options, and since Site Pal also charges by the number of questions Inga is asked, Reynolds must be paying, I'd guestimate, over $10,000 a month based on hit count; probably more. All to tell me about Swiss Banks. Hmmm.
There are lots of other examples, but their FAQ page illustrates the plan. Lets look at some facts; in this case the Camel SNUS Official Website FAQ's.
As in Part 2 when looking at Marlboro (I don't think it's) snus's FAQ's, I will list Camels FAQ's worded exactly as posted on their website as of the date I wrote this article (and I've linked to that page above) and follow with my comments in red.
VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: You may have noticed above, when I referred specifically to Camel SNUS, I capitalized the word SNUS. When you read the Official Camel SNUS FAQ's below, pay close attention to when they use the word SNUS or snus; even in the same question and answer.
As RJRT admits, snus has been around for over 200 years so they can't trade-mark the word "snus" any more than you could trade-mark the word "automobile". BUT, you CAN trademark the phrase "Camel SNUS" as a product name. I'll guarantee you they did. So why, you may ask, didn't they just trademark "Camel Snus" or "Camel snus"?
This is where Camel's Marketing and Legal departments spent a lot of time together.
I believe this is the underbelly of their marketing-by-confusion campaign. How well it will stand up in Court depends on two things: While 'snus' can not be trade-marked, can the word 'SNUS' in all capital letters be: either because no one ever has, or more likely as part of the 'Camel SNUS' trade-mark?
If 'SNUS' can't be trade-marked, are their lawyers good enough to make the case that when RJRT uses the word SNUS in all caps, they are referring to Camel SNUS?
If 'SNUS' can be trade-marked and RJRT did it, then as long as they stay consistent in it's usage, it's not false advertising but is and is intended to be VERY misleading. So much so that it may fall under the laws of deceptive practices....or not. Depends how good their lawyers are. Pretty good, I'm willing to bet.
As you will see below, they start by using SNUS only when Camel is in front of it: Camel SNUS. Later, they start using just SNUS when referring to Camel SNUS or statements that are factual about Camel SNUS.
Here are the Camel SNUS FAQ's. Aside from inserting a Q: and A: for question and answer, they are direct copy and pastes from the Camel SNUS website.
If you wonder why I keep emphasising this and that I include direct links to Camel SNUS, it's because they're watching me. I don't use Google Analytics when reviewing who visits The Unloading Zone. I have a much more sophisticated program for user identification. Don't worry, it won't tell me who you are, but if you're using a corporate server, it will tell me the company name. So much for THAT secret.
Not only does it tell me I've received traffic from Winston-Salem, NC, the home of RJRT, but it drills down and shows a number of those visits originated from the RJRT itself.
My opinions are my opinions. I have a First Amendment right to express them. But if I quote anyone, including RJRT or their websites or use any copy, it must be and should be as they wrote it, attributed to them, and provide links to their websites if applicable.
My OPINION is mine: what they publish is theirs, and while, like newspapers, I could print a correction if I misquoted them, they could also take up a lot of my time. This is what, in my opinion, the legal profession has sunk to in the last 40 years.
Instead of having respect for, and seeing themselves as guardians of the law; we now have cases like McDonald's being sued for $5 million dollars because someone spilled hot coffee on themselves. The lawyers won that one too....it was overturned only on appeal. But enough about lawyers.
So here we go:
Q: What is Camel SNUS?
A: Camel SNUS is a revolutionary tobacco product that delivers tobacco pleasure that you can enjoy anytime, anywhere. SNUS is not Dip! It is pasteurized tobacco that comes in small pouches. And no- you do not have to spit. OK, so far true. But notice how they use SNUS. They are setting the stage......
Q: Can you help me understand how this fits into the whole smokeless category?
Smokeless tobacco is a totally new subcategory of Smokefree Tobacco.
> Snus is not typical moist snuff.
> Snus is pasteurized - not fermented like typical moist snuff.
> Camel SNUS comes in a small pouch instead of being loose tobacco.
> Camel SNUS is spitfree, whereas other snus products may require spitting.
Now it begins: Smokeless tobacco is a totally new subcategory of Smokefree Tobacco?? When was there EVER a category called "Smokefree Tobacco?" Maybe they just invented the term at RJRT and it applies to Camel products, but they are trying to redefine the definition of Snus universally. And notice how they use the words 'snus' and 'SNUS'....
>#1 states that Snus is not typical moist snuff. It depends how you define "snuff" Later on you will see that Camel defines "snus" as the Swedish word for "snuff". If that's the case and the Swedes invented snus over 200 years ago, then they are lying. UNLESS by inserting the word 'typical', they can prove (and in the USA they can) that snus is not considered by Americans as 'typical moist snuff'.....their lawyers wrote that answer.
>#2 Lawyers again. By stating that "typical moist snuff" is fermented, they are defining it as chewing tobacco/dip which is fermented. It would stand up in court but is intentionally misleading.
>#3 True. But it also introduces the word "Camel" into the universal definition of snus they are trying to establish.
>#4 Even with lawyers, THAT statement is really pushing it. As THE WORLD defines Swedish Snus, the original inventors; NO snus should involve spitting. But since they don't say Swedish AND they tried to define Snus and Snuff as being synonymous, AND they use the word "may" leaves the unspoken "may not" on the table. Again, deliberately confusing for the American consumer. Maybe Rep. Waxman's bill letting the FDA regulate tobacco including snus has some merit....No, it's going to be a nightmare, but that's for another post. If you want to take some aspirin and re-read my response to #4 again, I understand. I did.
Q: What makes it spitfree?
A: It's the way Camel SNUS is formulated. It has a low moisture and salt content. Therefore it reduces the need for spitting. Notice here they refer specifically to Camel SNUS. They have to. Swedish Snus is a semi-moist product: up to 50% and uses salt as a preservative as you'll remember from the studies referred to in Parts 1 and 2 of this series. Another effort by Camel to redefine the definition of REAL snus without crossing the legal line.
Q: What is the origin of snus?
A: Snus originated in Sweden. Snus has been used in Sweden for nearly 200 years where there are currently over 1 million Swedish snus consumers. True, but it has nothing to do with CAMEL SNUS. That's only 2-3 years old at best and who cares how many Swedish Snus consumers there are? How does it relate to RJRT? The whole question has nothing to do with Camel SNUS. The proper question would have been "What is the origin of Camel SNUS?" Frankly, I'd like to know that myself. At least Philip Morris USA reveals their version of the history of their "snus" development programs. Yet again, RJRT is trying to link Camel SNUS to Swedish snus by implication. Cute.
Q: Does all snus come in a pouch?
A: All Camel SNUS comes in a pouch. A perfect example of how they use 'snus' and 'SNUS' to link CAMEL SNUS to Swedish Snus while being completing honest in the answer. All Camel SNUS does come in a pouch. Swedish snus also comes loose.
Q: Why Camel?
A: Camel has a long history of innovation in the tobacco business and the test market provides an opportunity to learn about adult tobacco consumer preferences regarding smokeless tobacco products. Camel has a track record of providing adult smokers with innovative product choices; for example, Camel's Signature styles and Camel Wides styles. Here they include cigarettes and notice they say smokeless tobacco, the common definition of a number of types of tobacco products and their "new" category Smokefree is missing. It's a true statement which at the same time keeps blurring the lines.
Q: Is snus safer than smoking cigarettes? Is snus safe? (Any similar health-related question.)
A: There are inherent risks with the use of both cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products, including snus. Smokeless Warnings are required to be printed on packaging and advertising for smokeless products. Because of what lawyers have become and frivolous lawsuits. Even ladders have a dozen warning labels all over them stating that climbing up a ladder can be dangerous. But they actually missed an opportunity by not breaking this into two questions. The combustion (burning) of cigarettes and inhaling directly into the lungs introduce tar and about 3000 dangerous substances into the body. Since snus and even SNUS is not burned, it is safer than cigarettes. HOW much safer Camel SNUS is unknown because they refuse to disclose the details of what is in it or how it made. Swedish Snus is approximately 98% safer than smoking cigarettes. That has been documented.
Q: Where can we get this?
A: Camel SNUS is currently available at limited locations, including retailers in the areas of: Portland, OR; Austin, TX; Dallas, TX; Raleigh, NC; Columbus, OH; Orlando, FL; Indianapolis, IN; Kansas City, MO; New York, NY; Miami, FL; Atlanta, GA; Chicago, IL; Minneapolis, MN; Seattle, WA; San Francisco, CA; Los Angeles, CA; Oakland, CA; Washington, DC; Baltimore, MD; and select Sheetz stores. Poor Dallas: why us again? But I was surprised at how many test markets they had compared to Marlboro. It explains why there are lots more Google searches for Camel SNUS than Marlboro snus. Most importantly, notice they do NOT list Sweden as a place where Camel SNUS is available...I keep thinking of 'Olga' on the Camel SNUS website holding up that can of Camel SNUS...
Q: Why are you using the name "SNUS?"
A: "Snus" is Swedish for snuff. Now THAT's a gutsy answer. Using Camel's logic, the question is about SNUS but the answer is about snus: the question doesn't apply to the answer. It just serves to confuse snus with snuff and Camel SNUS with Swedish snus. So "Snus" is Swedish for snuff. Camel SNUS is only being marketed in America: why don't you use the English word for snuff: snuff? Or to take it to an extreme, why don't they use the Spanish word for snuff; or the German; or the French? Because its part of their master marketing plan to link Swedish snus and Camel SNUS as equal products in the minds of US consumers.
Q: Who supplies the product?
A: R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. manufactures Camel SNUS in North Carolina, using similar manufacturing processes as those in Sweden. Similar. How similar? That's the question. Camel's low-moisture content is not similar to how they manufacturer snus in Sweden. And from their answer a few questions back, the amount of salt they use as a preservative is not similar to Swedish snus.
Pasteurization? There are different ways to pasteurize. How long do they pasteurize Camel SNUS compared to the Swedish? Other than the word "pasteurize" just how similar is Camel's method to what the Swedish government mandates? A so-called similar method could lead to much higher levels of TSNA's.
I could go on but you get Reynold's marketing point: "Dear Mr/Ms. Cigarette Smoker or other Tobacco User: Camel SNUS; Swedish Snus...it's all just snus!"
Q: Why is Camel SNUS refrigerated?
A: Refrigeration keeps our product fresher! SO it's sold cold at the stores to make sure it's fresh when you buy it. That's true, especially if Camel SNUS has a much lower moisture and salt content than Swedish snus, it won't last very long otherwise.
Q: Camel SNUS products are kept refrigerated at retail. Do you have to keep the product refrigerated at all times to ensure freshness?
A: No. Once you open a tin- you don't need to keep it refrigerated. A lot of adult smokers keep their cigarettes in the refrigerator to keep them fresh- and you could do the same with your SNUS if you prefer. For over 30 years, I never ONCE put cigarettes in the refrigerator. But I smoked one to two packs a day: they didn't have time to go stale. Remember this question: they come back to the subject a few questions down where it gets funny.
Q: How do you use Camel SNUS?
A: POP it between your upper lip and gum. POP? I'm nitpicking. They can say POP.
Wait a few minutes for the TINGLE. From what? Am I going to pass out?
ENJOY the flavor for up to 30 minutes. Big Deal. You can enjoy the flavor of Swedish Snus for 2 HOURS or more. I know I have.
So POP- TINGLE and ENJOY! Isn't that catchy? Well, it is better than the "spit-free menthol" marketing Philip Morris USA used on the failed Taboka snus.
Q: Can I use Camel SNUS while smoking?
A: We do not recommend that. You should enjoy all tobacco products in moderation. How responsible of them. It could also have something to do with future "reduced harm" tobacco marketing. If you're still smoking, you're still inhaling tar and combustible TSNA's. Cancer risk remains and the poor American public might get confused if SNUS users started getting lung cancer.
Q: Can you swallow your SNUS pouch?
A: No, You should not swallow the whole pouch! Simply remove it from your mouth and throw it away when you have finished using it. Swallow it? If it's Camel SNUS, you shouldn't even put it in your mouth!
You really shouldn't swallow Swedish snus portions either, but notice how emphatic they are referring specifically to SNUS, not snus. Is it more dangerous to swallow a SNUS pouch than a snus portion? What is the SNUS pouch made of, anyway? Is it radioactive, thus explaining the "tingle" sensation mentioned above?"
Q: What does it taste like? How long do you keep it in your mouth?
A: SNUS has 3 unique taste experiences available:
ORIGINAL: Traditional tobacco taste
FROST: Cool and Refreshing
SPICE: Warm and Smooth
Adult tobacco consumers usually keep a pouch in their mouth from 10 to 30 minutes.
Notice they use 'it' in the question and 'SNUS' in the answer. True but misleading. More interesting, and an insult to the Swedish snus they are trying to imply is "just like theirs" is that sub-30 minute duration length. But wait: if they said earlier that Camel SNUS lasts 30 minutes, why would someone only keep a pouch in for 10 minutes? And Swedish Snus has well over 100 "unique taste esperiences, not just 3" I'm biting my tongue right now. Lets move on.
Q: How many Camel SNUS pouches do adult tobacco consumers typically use in a day?
A: It varies from person to person- much like other tobacco consumption. True, but I would recommend ZERO. One thing for sure, though, Camel SNUS users have to use many more "pouches" than Swedish Snus uses use portions: Reynolds just told us Camel SNUS only "last 10 to 30 minutes" while Swedish Snus lasts 45 minutes to over 2 hours! And since Camel SNUS costs more than almost all Swedish Snus, think about how much more money a Camel SNUS user has to pay.......
Q: How big is the individual pouch?
A: The individual Camel SNUS pouch is small and weighs about 0.6 grams. Remember the word "small". A few questions down, they really start dancing on this one! Also remember that it weighs 0.6 grams for the same reason. Not to mention the fact that regular Swedish snus portions weigh 1.0 grams.
Q: Why do you put "best-before" dates on all your Camel SNUS products?
A: Camel SNUS is best enjoyed soon after the product is manufactured. The "best-before" date allows the consumer to verify the freshness of the product. I'll let them slide on that one.
Q: Is Camel SNUS a new invention?
A: No, snus has been around since the 1800s- but not widely available in the United States until now! Snus is used by more than a million consumers in Sweden!
It is also sold in Norway, South Africa, India, Russia and the United States. To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, there they go again! The Question is about Camel SNUS. The Answer is about Swedish snus. And they were very careful only to use SNUS in the question and Snus and snus in the answer. The Question and Answer had NOTHING to do with each other.
Q: Are there different styles of Camel SNUS?
A: SNUS has 3 unique taste experiences for you to choose from:
ORIGINAL: Traditional tobacco taste
FROST: Cool and Refreshing
SPICE: Warm and Smooth
This time true because it's ONLY referring to Camel SNUS. But combine it with the similar question towards the beginning, its re-enforcing the "SNUS is Snus is snus" marketing. It's also attempting to define snus flavors. Why? Because there are so many more flavors available from Swedish snus manufacturers.
Q: Is the tobacco in Camel SNUS the same blend that is used in Camel cigarette styles?
A: No. The blend of tobaccos used in Camel SNUS is unique. But our commitment to provide Camel consumers with the highest quality tobaccos is the same. Unique how? Unique in a GOOD way? Or Unique because no one else on the planet would dare market it? Since I smoked Camel cigarettes for so long, I really can't say more without looking hypocritical.
Q: How many pouches of Camel SNUS come in a tin?
A: Each tin contains 15 pouches. ONLY 15? Most Swedish Snus has 24. This is where it starts to get funny...and sad for the poor American cigarette and tobacco consumer trying to figure all this out.
Q: Why did the pouch count decrease from 20 to 15? They actually DECREASED the pouch count? Now watch them dance in the answer!
A: Simple answer: Product Freshness. We want Camel SNUS to be as fresh as possible. Based on what consumers told us, they were using fewer than twenty pouches on a regular basis. By reducing the pouch count from 20 to 15, it ensures that Camel SNUS is the freshest snus possible, from the first pouch to the last one in the tin. Couple this with the fact that we now have 50% larger pouches, there is actually more Camel SNUS in a tin than when we had 20 pouches in a tin.
Ok, lets see if I get this straight. A few questions up, they called their pouch "small". But if it's small now, what was it when it was 50% smaller? It now weighs 0.6 grams (notice they don't tell you how much of that is snus like the Swedish manufacturers do) so what did it have before... 0.4? Less? How could you even taste the original?
But now you get more because the small pouch is really a big-small pouch so it you subtract 5 pouches weighing 0.4 grams or even less..they don't say, and add 0.2 grams of weight to the 15 pouches.....I'm getting a headache. American cigarette and tobacco consumers may be new to the concept of snus, but they know when the price stays the same or goes up and they lose 5 pouches, somethings wrong. Camel must have received a LOT of angry emails on this subject.
As to the reason they reduced the count by 5 is because the moisture level is so low that, like cigarettes, they will go stale if you don't consume them quickly...and apparently Camel SNUS users couldn't choke down 20 pouches before they went stale. Makes me wonder about that "Unique" tobacco they use in Camel SNUS.......
Q: Why are the pouches bigger?
A: 1 Reason: consumer feedback. Camel SNUSers told us that they would prefer to have more tobacco in each pouch. Of course they would! The original 0.4 gram or less pouches were virtually tasteless after 5-10 minutes. So now it's a massive 0.6 gram. Of course if their users bought most Swedish snus's, they would get 1.0 gram portions; almost double the amount in each pouch, 9 more pouches and for LESS MONEY......not to mention well over a HUNDRED different taste selections, not just 3.
Q: How much bigger is the pouch?
A: 50% What are you, an idiot? We already told you: 50%! Don't you believe us? Don't they LOOK bigger? We also redesigned the pouches to LOOK bigger too. Didn't you notice? You haven't been looking at any of that Swedish Snus, have you?
Q: Is there more nicotine since the pouch is bigger?
A: As the new pouch contains more tobacco, and nicotine is a natural constituent of tobacco, there is an increase in the average amount of nicotine by weight in the new, larger pouches of Camel SNUS. I emailed Camel about this and was actually surprised when they replied that the 0.6 pouches of Camel SNUS have 8mg of nicotine: the same as regular Swedish. Remember the study in Part 2 that said Marlboro snus had 20% LESS nicotine than Swedish snus. Swedish Snus also comes in Strong (11 mg. of nicotine) known as Stark or Sterk Snus and as of the 4th quarter, 2008, Extra or Ekstra Strong / Stark / Sterk which will contain up to 16 mg. of nicotine; maybe even more...
Q: Do Camel SNUS products contain tar and nicotine?
A: This is a tobacco product so Camel SNUS does contain nicotine. Since the product is smokeless and does not burn, it does not produce tar. True of SNUS, snus, and even Moist Smokeless Tobacco products. Too bad the question didn't include TSNA's and ingredients. I would really like to know the answer to those about SNUS.
Q: Is test marketing Camel SNUS a response to more and more cigarette restrictions?
A: Camel SNUS was developed in response to adult tobacco consumer demand. REALLY? And why were they demanding it? Because the anti-cigarette majority has made the cigarette smoker's life miserable! And the upcoming ban on cigarettes taking legislative shape in Washington laying the groundwork today: Just answer the stupid question! Oh, I forgot: you MANUFACTURE Cigarettes too! Don't want to stop riding that gravy train until you have to, do you?
Q: Who is the expected consumer for Camel SNUS? Adult Smokers? Adult moist snuff consumers?
A: We have strong interest from both adult smokers and adult moist snuff consumers. OH, so now we have a NEW player on the team: "Adult moist snuff"! In other words, dip/chewing tobacco. But didn't you define that as snus above? Oh Dear Lord! How do these people sleep at night? Ms. Ivey, I'm embarrassed to have supported your company for 3 decades +. This is just wrong.
So there it is. In a nutshell, take an American public that never heard of snus until two or three years ago, link the Camel SNUS product to Swedish snus and market an overpriced, inferior quality smokeless product with 15 mini-portions of who-knows-what in them....and FOR GOD'S SAKE, DON'T SWALLOW A CAMEL SNUS POUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
They created the entirely new Category "Smokefree"; speaking of it as if it's universal and been around since the Pilgrims. Their fallback in Court will be that Smokefree is a trademarked Camel term (I'm willing to bet it is) so its sub-category "smokeless" is DIFFERENT than the accepted universal definition of "smokeless" tobacco. And after all, they sell SNUS; not snus. Their legal fees must have been enormous designing this marketing program!
But as I said at the beginning of this post, the key is Consistency of Terms. If you visit the Camel SNUS Official Website, they must use cheaper lawyers on other parts of the site, because there are enough instances of them using snus instead of SNUS for their case to fall apart.
Aside from the stereotypical corporate greed/obscene profits argument, why would Philip Morris USA and RJ Reynolds Tobacco introduce snus to the American market with such poor products?
Swedish Match is already marketing General and Catch over-the-counter in 17 States and of course, with the internet, you can buy snus from SnusCentral.com.com (my favorite, of course) or other Internet Snus Stores.
Both (and more to come) American Big Tobacco Companies are spending a fortune in the test markets on advertising and marketing and it's working: American tobacco users are discovering (really bad) snus.
Eventually, as I and many of you reading this did; they will have discovered, tasted, and fell in love with Swedish Snus. When that would eventually reach a critical mass, sales of Marlboro snus and Camel SNUS-like products would plummet.
That's another one of the reasons I started this Three Part Series off by saying it was a Mystery Story. The big mystery is what I just asked above.
A part of that was the mystery of why Philip Morris USA would put out such a horrible product as Marlboro snus when they already knew how to make REAL snus: the Philip Morris 1847 portion and white portion they sell in Sweden. I reviewed it in June and liked it. I still do. SO WHY MARLBORO AND CAMEL SNUS??????
At the start, I said there were two reasons I dreaded writing Part 3. The second reason I already told you. The main reason was I was waiting for the outcome of a particular vote in the US House of Representatives.
For twenty years, Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA) has been the leader of the anti-tobacco movement in Congress. For 20 years he has fought against pro and for anti-tobacco legislation. He's had some victories, and smokers suffered for it.
In the middle of February 2008, he introduced H.R. 1108: Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. This legislation would give FDA strong authority to regulate tobacco products. This has been tried before but even I always related it to, as is in the title, Smoking.
And then I read this quote on Congressman Waxman's website:
Today Rep. Waxman continues the battle against tobacco in his post as the Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Through this position, he has advocated for FDA regulation of tobacco products and a ban on smoking in House buildings, supported the Department of Justice in their case against the tobacco industry, and investigated the distribution of "smokeless" tobacco to our troops and the marketing of "reduced risk" tobacco.
The marketing of "reduced risk" tobacco. In other words, Snus.
On July 31st, the House of Representatives passed H.R 1108 326 for, 102 against. Strong support by both parties. President Bush opposes this bill and it's questionable whether the Senate will have time to address the legislation before the break. But both McCain and Obama appear to support it. And those five words keep coming back to haunt me: marketing of "reduced risk" tobacco.
I've never seen those words used in the US Press before. They're there now. H.R. 1108 deserves, and I plan on writing an article dedicated to it. So I'm not going to discuss it here anymore except as a possible and nightmare answer to the main mystery of this series:
The Tobacco Lobby is one of the most powerful in the United States. Otherwise cigarettes would have been made illegal immediately after the US Surgeon Generals report came out in 1964. Instead, a simple warning on the pack was the result.
What if Marlboro snus and Camel SNUS can afford to put out an inferior product at a huge mark-up because they WON'T HAVE ANY COMPETITION FROM SWEDEN!
What if, instead of accepting a warning label and advertising restrictions on cigarettes (and a $250BB "settlement" payment to the Government) as the trade-off to keeping cigarettes legal (and generating enormous tax revenue), the trade-off THIS TIME is to transition nicotine-addicted nicotine smokers to their "snus" products and allow the banning of cigarettes? Including of course a ban or prohibitively taxing the importation of Swedish Snus, their only competition?
Do you think we would still have the outdated, counterproductive embargo on Cubu if there were no Cuban Cigars?
I think I already know how they'll accomplish it and have seen the first steps taken in Washington and in the mainstream media already. It can be done. And very quickly, before more than we few American pioneers discover how superior Swedish Snus is to American snus.
And never knowing or tasting the truth, millions of Americans will buy and "enjoy" American snus. I know: just from the emails I get from people praising Camel SNUS. Nicotine has that power.
The war against Swedish Snus has already quietly begun in America. I pray it's a war we can win.
I will NEVER surrender and accept Camel SNUS or especially the dreadful Marlboro snus as a tobacco choice. And smoking is already difficult enough: it will become much more so if H.R. 1108 becomes law.
It's another trade-off big tobacco made and that's why, out of nowhere 2-3 years ago, their sudden interest in snus. Because they knew nicotine-addicts would be left with no choice but to use their disgusting snus-like products.
Well, I won't! But I am and will always be a nicotine addict. And I like the taste of REAL Snus: I'm not going to pop nicotine pills or chew nicotine gum, the price of which will have tripled by then anyway. I don't know what I'm going to do. I may start taking Swedish language classes, though.
And on that depressing note, I conclude this series on Swedish Snus versus Camel SNUS versus Marlboro snus. I hope you enjoyed it and found it informative. If you have friends that use American snus or plan to when it becomes available nationally, have them read this series and talk to them. That's the main reason I wrote it in such detail and that its 3 Parts long.
We need to educate the American public, one friend at a time, as quickly as possible, about this conspiracy between Big American Tobacco and the US Government. We need soldiers in the war against Swedish Snus in America and we need them quickly!
My article on the the ramifications of H.R. 1108 becoming law will be coming soon. It will include the moves in Washington and the main-stream press already in place to give Big American Tobacco the monopoly on snus in the USA. I will lay out their entire strategy. When the additional legislation starts appearing to support keeping Swedish Snus out of America, I'll keep you updated.
Enjoy your Swedish Snus!....while you still can. Or start searching the web for "Make Swedish Snus at Home" kits.
As I enjoy a portion of REAL Swedish snus,
The Snus Guru
August 2nd 2008