and that company is R.J. Reynolds Vapor Co. If that name doesn't exactly ring a bell it's because they are a subsidiary of Reynolds American, which is a subsidiary of British American Tobacco, which is the parent company that is one of the bigger of the tobacco giants. Reynolds are expanding their line of spit free nicotine products by introducing a snus product called Velo later this week in over 70,000 retail outlets nationwide.
Velo contains no tobacco leaf or other tobacco plant matter apart from the nicotine extracted from the tobacco plant, Reynolds said. Reynolds already sells Camel snus, which is currently the top-selling snus product in the U.S.
Both products are being marketed in part for use in places where smoking is prohibited because they don’t require spitting tobacco juice. “Velo addresses key adult tobacco consumers’ preferences for choice, convenience and consideration, while providing a flavorful and enjoyable experience,” Reynolds said.
Velo is part of what the top parent company British American Tobacco calls its “modern oral portfolio” which also consists of Revel nicotine lozenges in hard and soft textures and in mint, dark mint, cream, and berry flavors.
The retail expansions of Revel and Velo “are both evidence that we are serious about accelerating transformation in the modern oral space,” said Shay Mustafa, senior vice president for Reynolds Vapor’s oral business unit. “Once we launch e-commerce, purchases on our site will be restricted to age 21-plus adult tobacco consumers. The marketing content on our website is restricted to consumers who certify they’re age 21-plus adult tobacco consumers.
Now we have a clearer picture of the plays going on both behind the scenes and literally on the main stage for these giant tobacco companies. While they are trying to ignore all of the heat in the current press and overall hysteria related to eLiquids and vaping, they are making clear and evident moves for the "anything that's not tobacco but would be acceptable to current tobacco consumers" markets.
British American Tobacco currently offers the Lyft and Epok products in five different European countries, with options including products containing lower levels of tobacco, and one that actually contains no tobacco.
Brad Rodu, a professor of medicine at the University of Louisville and an anti-smoking advocate, said; “This development is in keeping with tobacco manufacturers’ stated commitment to provide satisfying and vastly safer smoke-free cigarette substitutes." while totally not mentioning they are also conveniently trying to keep their companies from going under because demand for combustible smokes is steadily decreasing.
Rodu also stated “A robust market of e-cigarettes and other vapor products, heat-not-burn tobacco, smokeless tobacco products, such as snus, and non-pharmaceutical nicotine products gives smokers a broad array of quitting options that don’t require nicotine/tobacco abstinence.”
Gregory Conley, president of American Vaping Association, said that “nicotine pouches have been quietly growing in popularity over the last two years and it seems this market has more long-term upside than dissolvable products.” Conly continued; “As the number of state and local laws restricting the use of vaping products continue to grow, these products may be especially attractive to vapers looking for other low-risk, smoke-free alternatives.”
Consumers have historically shown great potential to move to lower risk products, just as has happened in transitions to safer forms of food, medicines, automobiles and sports gear, said David Sweanor, an adjunct law professor at the University of Ottawa and the author of several electronic cigarette and health related studies.
“We are in an odd situation when science and technology have presented consumer acceptable ways to end the carnage from cigarette smoking,” Sweanor stated. “But government agencies and abstinence-only anti-tobacco groups are the major barrier to achieving the health gains,” he said.
What do you think about all of these big tobacco moves? Are they just being opaquely sinister and manipulating the eLiquid and vape markets by trying to move around in similar tobacco alternative products? Perhaps this will be an opportunity where big tobacco sets precedent for non-tobacco derived products that the vape world can use as a foot in the door to not tobacco related product validation.