Readers Agree: Snus Ad Is Confusing

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ACSH s request for Dispatch-reader input on the issue of a mystifying Camel Snus ad yielded similar theories on the meaning of the Break Free and Stare Back slogans. Here are some responses:

I am wondering if Stare Back is a long-overdue call for nicotine users to stand up for themselves and face up to those who would ruin their lives by opposing [tobacco harm reduction].

I agree that [the Break Free slogan] is encouraging smokers to try using Camal Snus as an alternative to cigarettes. The Stare Back slogan is likely referencing the disapproving stares (from nonsmokers) that smokers get when they smoke a cigarette in public, and Stare Back appears to be informing smokers that they won't be stared at by nonsmokers if/when they use Camel Snus.

I want to offer a guess that Stare Back is a subtle suggestion to smokers who have been subject to the passively aggressive stares from anti-smoking activists trying to prevent smoking in all public places, indoors and out. Perhaps Reynolds is trying to help smokers counter denormalization and stigmatization by using snus as an invisible, spit-free cigarette substitute. Of course, traditional smokeless users have also been stigmatized by the spittin' image, so upper-lip placement of snus permits them to stare back as well.

Dr. Whelan is perplexed: The bottom line is that we really don t know what this ad means, and we need Mad Men s Don Draper to help us out.