"It's an immense concern," Bob Doyle, the head of the Colorado Tobacco Education and Prevention Alliance, said on Tuesday. "This product is about addicting a new generation."
RJ Reynolds is currently testing the market of its Camel dissolvable tobacco in Denver and North Carolina as it decides whether to market it on a more nationwide level.
"We're optimistic that these can be a viable product offering in the future," RJ Reynolds spokesperson David Howard said by phone from company headquarters in North Carolina.
Howard says the fact that the tobacco comes in child-proof containers and provides large warnings on both the front and back on the box is a clear example of who should and who should not be using it.
"It's a guiding principle and belief at RJ Reynolds that youth should not use tobacco products," he said.
Critics are quick to counter however.
"This is the same company that gave us Joe Camel the cartoon character. Now they're giving us candy-like tobacco product," Doyle said.
Both sides plan to present arguments in front of the Colorado Board of Health on Wednesday.
Camel's dissolvable tobacco comes in the form of "orbs, sticks, and strips," and contains less nicotine than the average smoker consumes from the average cigarette, according to Howard.
"There's no secondhand smoke. There's no spitting. There's no cigarette butt litter," he added. "It would be a product that would enable people to enjoy tobacco, which is an informed decision they made as an adult-tobacco consumer, without bothering others."
"It's easier to ingest for kids," Doyle said. "It's easier to conceal for kids and obviously its packaging and design looks very much like candy.... We want it off the shelves."
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