Tobacco manufacturer R.J. Reynolds refused a request this week from the Colorado Board of Health to stop using the state as a test market for new dissolvable tobacco products. The board asked the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate the products as tobacco.
Health officials in Colorado are concerned the new products, Camel Orbs, Camel Strips and Camel Sticks, look like candy and will attract teens, according to the Denver Post. The new products have appeared as the state faces severe budget cuts for tobacco education, after the legislature decided to use tobacco-tax money to balance the budget.
R.J. Reynolds spokesman Richard Smith said, “Camel Dissolvables are smokeless tobacco products — they are not candy or mints as some have erroneously described them. The packaging is child-resistant and is clearly labeled ‘dissolvable tobacco.’ They are sold alongside other tobacco products, their sale is age-restricted, and they are taxed at the same rate as other smokeless tobacco products.”
An FDA panel will meet in November to discuss dissolvable tobacco. The FDA is expected to release a report on health, safety and regulation of these products in March 2012. In June, a group of U.S. senators asked the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products to regulate dissolvable tobacco products that they said poses health risks, especially for children.
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