Business

Tobacco ads cause concern

RALEIGH, N.C. - R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. is targeting people who resolve to quit smoking in the new year with advertisements suggesting they switch to its smokeless tobacco pouches, a move critics say is an attempt to keep people from quitting nicotine.

The ads mark the company’s first campaign aimed at getting smokers to switch to the pouches known as snus, which Reynolds introduced in early 2009, spokesman David Howard said Wednesday.

The carefully worded ads suggest, but don’t say directly, that the pouches are a way to help kick the smoking habit. Under federal law, companies cannot claim that tobacco products work as smoking cessation products.

But tobacco companies would love for smokers to think of them that way as cigarette sales fall because of higher taxes, smoking bans and falling social acceptability.

The No. 2 U.S. cigarette maker is advertising in major magazines this month its suggestion for a “2011 Smoke-Free Resolution” in some ads that show the tobacco-filled white pouches dropping from the sky like confetti.

The ads promote the company’s Camel snus — small pouches filled with tobacco that users stick between the cheek and gum.

“If you’ve decided to quit tobacco use, we support you. But if you’re looking for smoke-free, spit-free, drama-free tobacco pleasure, Camel Snus is your answer. Logon to the Pleasure Switch Challenge and see how simple switching can be. Camel Snus — it might just change the way you enjoy tobacco,” one ad says.

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