This is such a tired topic, so I'm a tad surprised that I'm choosing to comment on it. Yet it has such a fun new little twist...
In case you haven't heard, Orbs Dissolvable Tobacco is being test marketed in Portland, Columbus and Indianapolis by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco. These little pellets look like mints (and taste like...I don't know what but my guess is that they don't taste like crushed up cigarettes). Reynolds is also planning to test the Orbs in a chewable stick and a strip form later this spring.
The critics are already upset, understandably so:
The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids says "They are likely to appeal to children because they are flavored and packaged like candy, are easy to conceal even in a classroom and carry the Camel brand that is already so popular with underage smokers."
And the American Cancer Society says "it's a very dangerous product for children, who tend to become addicted more quickly."
R.J. Reynolds-- of course-- says the product is meant for adults and has warning labels on the package and can only be sold to adults 18 and older.
So here is my question: Is there anything about this product that isn't designed with kids in mind? Let's see... the candy-like flavor? The youthful colors and packaging? The cute camel silhouette? The highly addictive nature of the product? The fact that it's technically "off limits?"
Sara Troy Machir, spokeswoman of Star Scientific, a small tobacco company that sells two dissolvable products, Ariva and Stonewall is quoted in USA Today as saying "Teens like risk-taking behavior and a tablet, unlike a cigarette, won't lure them."
Wow. Did she really say that?
So really, it's a win-win for the tobacco companies. Continue the cradle-to-grave strategy (literally) by continuing to market to kids with not one, but multiple product offerings. Kids who don't initially go for the all-American appeal of the bright packaging and sweet candy-like taste of product number 1 might like the "risk taking" appeal and stench of the old standby product number 2.