Smokeless in the City: Camel Snus ad campaign launched as NYC smoking ban is extended

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Today readers of a number of newspapers, including The Wall Street Journal, U.S.A. Today and The New York Daily News, will encounter a full-page advertisement for Camel Snus. The product consists of moist, steam cured tobacco packaged in small sachets that can be inserted under the upper lip and eliminates both the spitting involved with traditional chewing tobacco, as well as the smoke that makes cigarettes so publicly offensive and poses such a risk to one’s lung health.
the ads in question
The advertisements were launched as part of Reynolds American Inc.’s smokeless tobacco campaign and, appropriately, coincide with a new anti-smoking law that goes into effect today in New York City — one that prohibits smoking in public parks, plazas and beaches. “NYC smokers enjoy freedom without the flame,” the ad in The New York Post declares, appealing to smokers who will now find the number of public places they can light up even more limited. However, as ACSH’s Dr. Elizabeth Whelan notes, “What’s absent is the information that snus is less harmful than smoking itself.” That is, smokeless tobacco should be recognized as an important part of tobacco harm reduction for smokers who are trying to quit: epidemiologic studies have shown that its use is associated with minimal risks of cancer and heart disease, and thus is a safer alternative to smoking. Nevertheless, nearly upstaging the advertisement itself is a large warning, informing would-be users that “this product can cause gum disease and tooth loss.” Yet if one is to consider snus alongside cigarettes, the former is a considerable improvement: “In terms of mortality rates, there’s just no comparison,” says Dr. Whelan. “And that’s what every smoker should know.”