R.J. Reynolds' Snus Goes National

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Beginning in late January or early February, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. (RJRT) will bring its Camel Snus smokeless, spitless tobacco product national to c-stores and other tobacco retailers, the Winston-Salem Journal reported.

"We have been very deliberate in the test marketing of Camel Snus," company spokesman David Howard told the paper. "All indications point to Camel Snus being a viable product for adult tobacco consumers."

Three varieties of Camel Snus—Original, Frost and Spice—have been distributed in several major metropolitan areas since 2006, CSNews
Online has previously reported. Those areas include: Miami; New York; Atlanta; Washington D.C.; Baltimore; Chicago; Minneapolis St. Paul; Seattle; San Francisco/ Oakland; Los Angeles; Raleigh, N.C.; Columbus, Ohio; Dallas/Ft. Worth; Indianapolis; Kansas City, Mo.; Orlando, Fla.; Austin, Texas; and Portland, Ore.

However, the national snus offering will be slightly different than lead markets. The Spice and Original flavors will be discontinued, while a Mellow flavor will be introduced, Howard recently told CSNews Online. Camel Snus is pasteurized, not fermented like other smokeless products, and requires refrigeration.

Howard told the paper RJRT has primarily focused on smokers with its Camel Snus marketing, "in hopes of adding the product to their repertoire of tobacco choices." And he acknowledged, "there has been a learning curve for us in how to market Camel Snus, and a learning curve for adult tobacco consumers on how to use it."

Camel Snus is priced comparatively with a pack of cigarettes, according to the report.

The national launch of Camel Snus will be followed by the introduction of three other dissolvable smokeless tobacco products starting in the first quarter of 2009 by RJRT, according to Howard. The products were unveiled at the NACS Show 2008 in Chicago and include: Camel Orbs, small round pellets available in Fresh and Mellow varieties; Camel Sticks, a stick of dissolvable tobacco in the Mellow variety that can be used similar to a toothpick; and Camel Strips, a strip of tobacco that is placed on the tongue and dissolved.

"Camel Sticks, Strips and Orbs offer a convenient alternative for adult tobacco consumers," Howard told CSNews Online, adding focus group testing with hundreds of adult tobacco consumers across the U.S. found that subjects were interested in such products. "Additionally, they provide an opportunity for retailers to meet the changing needs of their customers who are adult tobacco consumers."

All three dissolvable products will be priced in-line with Camel Snus and promoted through point-of-sale signage, direct-mail promotions, print advertisements and sampling at places such as bars and clubs, Howard told CSNews Online.