Big Tobacco Using Designer Products To Offset Smokefree Policies

In Local News, State News on March 24, 2009 at 7:40 am


Big Tobacco has come out with several alternative/designer tobacco products — the strips, orbs, sticks, and snus. I’ve discussed the products in detail in previous posts. Some people wonder what the harm of these products are, or why people would want to use them. There are several reasons the tobacco companies are producing these products.

First, they are designed to augment cigarette use as the popularity of smokefree workplace and campus policies increases. Since it’s becoming less socially acceptable to smoke in certain places, Big Tobacco created these products to keep customers addicted, and reduce the likelihood they will quit using cigarettes.

Secondly, since these products look harmless — like breath mints, breath strips, or toothpicks — they seem less dangerous. Since they are so new and because the government does not regulate what tobacco companies put in these products, it’s hard to tell what kind of effects the products will have on people’s health. But they do pack heavy loads of nicotine. The orbs have as much nicotine as three cigarettes. And they do keep people addicted to products — cigarettes — that are known to severely harm health.

I can tell you from personal experience how powerful these products are. When I was making a display of these products to show parents and teachers, I took a snus packet out of its packaging to glue to a page so adults can see what they look like without having to open the container each time. Just from handling the packet enough to glue it to the page, my hand became numb, and I got a headache and felt sick to my stomach. Just from touching the product!

Also, the snus was so heavily flavored/scented with mint (I suppose to cover up the tobacco) that my entire purse smelled like mint before I even broke the seal on the package.

The third reason that Big Tobacco has produced these designer products is to attract children. What child doesn’t love Tic-Tacs or Listerine breath strips? But if they eat these products like the candy they seem to be, the children can get extremely sick or potentially die. These products can be used during school or at home without adults knowing what’s going on, especially since many adults don’t know what these products are. They can also lead to use of cigarettes or chewing tobacco, which have definite negative health effects.


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