A scientific advisory panel for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave its opinion on dissolvable tobacco products, via a report posted online prior to the Friday deadline required by law that gives the FDA the authority to regulate the industry.
The Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee said that while dissolvable tobacco products had lower health risks when compared against smoking cigarettes, it also had the potential to increase the number of people who use tobacco.
These products are reportedly being eyed by tobacco companies as a possible answer to declining cigarette use due to tax hikes, increasing health concerns, smoking bans, and social stigma.
It is among the alternative tobacco products that companies are looking at for future sales growth. These products also include cigars, snuff, and chewing tobacco.
Dissolvable tobacco is described as finely-milled tobacco that is pressed into shapes, like tablets, that dissolve slowly in a userâ€™s mouth. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. is said to be test-marketing dissolvable tablets, strips, and a toothpick shape. These products carry the brands Camel Orbs, Camel Strips, and Camel Sticks, respectively, and are available in mint as well as other flavors. The orbs can last for 15 minutes. The strips, on the other hand, can dissolve in five minutes or less, while the sticks can last for 15 to 20 minutes.
Other products that are being marketed as well by other tobacco companies include wooden sticks coated with finely-milled tobacco under Phillip Morris USAâ€™s Marlboro brand (still in the test-marketing phase), and tobacco lozenges in wintergreen, coffee, and tobacco flavors, from Star Scientific Inc.