MAKES MAMAS REALLY, REALLY MAD!!!

Remember that article about cigarettes that were packaged in pink and placed alongside glamorous items to try and lure unsuspecting teenage girls to their poison?

We brought it to you because we thought it was a deliberate attempt on the part of R. J. Reynolds to get teens hooked on tobacco before their brains were fully developed and they were most vulnerable to addiction.

It was especially disgusting, irresponsible, and sneaky, we thought, since they had promised back in 1998 not to target teenagers. And yet, according to the University of Southern California – San Diego’s Moores Cancer Center, their very effective ad campaign influenced 174,000 underage kids to start smoking.

Pretty bad, right? Well guess what, mamas? R. J. Reynolds is up to their old tricks again. Only this time, it’s much worse.

Their latest attempt to addict children to their cash-cow (nicotine) comes in the form of little pellets packaged in small containers that resemble Tic-Tacs. As you can see from the picture, they look like breath mints and taste like candy.

They are called Camel Orbs and are being test-marketed in several cities in the U.S. “Enjoy Anytime. Anywhere. Anyplace,” says one of their ads. Oh, like school, home, an airplane, or your car, for example. How convenient and who would know?

An article in the New York Times reports that a research study on this smokeless tobacco product will be published next week in the journal Pediatrics. Apparently, the doctors who care for our nation’s children are not too thrilled with R. J. Reynolds either:

“The study says Orbs, pellets made of finely ground tobacco with mint or cinnamon flavoring, are packed with nicotine and can poison children and lure young people to start using tobacco. The pellets dissolve in the mouth, like breath mints. “Nicotine is a highly addictive drug, and to make it look like a piece of candy is recklessly playing with the health of children,” the lead researcher, Gregory N. Connolly, a professor with the Harvard School of Public Health, said in an interview.”

This product is coming from a company that states on its own website that “Cigarette smoking is a leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States. Cigarette smoking significantly increases the risk of developing lung cancer, heart disease, chronic bronchitis, emphysema and other serious diseases and adverse health conditions. No tobacco product has been shown to be safe and without risks, and quitting tobacco use significantly reduces the risk for serious diseases.”

So it’s not like they don’t know!! Of course they do!

Oh, and by the way – according to one of the scientists who studied the product, just 10 of those little mint-sized Camel Orbs is enough to kill an infant. Nice to know THAT product will be on the streets and potentially in the backpacks of the high schoolers who come to your house to babysit, right?

We hope that mamas all over the world will join together and make some noise directed at the second largest cigarette manufacturer. They should be ashamed.

Their phone number is: 1-800-341-5211, in case you feel like calling and giving them a piece of your mind. Be sure to ask them how Camel Orbs fit in with their Youth Non-Smoking Program.

Their address is:

Consumer Relations Department

P.O. Box 2959 Winston, Salem, North Carolina 27102.

Susan M. Ivey is Chairman, President and CEO.

Walton T. Carpenter is Senior Vice President and Head of Strategy and Planning

We have to warn you that R. J. Reynolds makes it VERY difficult to contact them. There is no web address that we could find and no specific phone number for contacting Public Relations directly. So you’ll have to get creative, mamas. But please make your voices heard. Our children need you to get involved and stop the drug dealing.

You can also contact your local congressmen and senators and let them know that you’re sick and tired of corporate greed coming before the health and safety of our children.

Pass this on to everyone you know and let’s see if we can make R. J. Reynolds do the right thing and stop production of Camel Orbs!

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Ellen and Rachel are two old friends and “expert” mamas—one a pediatrician and one a family therapist—with fifty years of parenting experience between them.

One response to “MAKES MAMAS REALLY, REALLY MAD!!!”

  1. Cigarette candy, oh no! « Katie Malinski, LCSW

    [...] from my usual, I found the product offensive enough to warrant a blog post.  Please follow this link to Mamas on Call for all the [...]

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