tocacco plant Native American Tobaccoo flower, leaves, and buds

tocacco Tobacco is an annual or bi-annual growing 1-3 meters tall with large sticky leaves that contain nicotine. Native to the Americas, tobacco has a long history of use as a shamanic inebriant and stimulant. It is extremely popular and well-known for its addictive potential.

tocacco nicotina Nicotiana tabacum

tocacco Nicotiana rustica leaves. Nicotiana rustica leaves have a nicotine content as high as 9%, whereas Nicotiana tabacum (common tobacco) leaves contain about 1 to 3%

tocacco cigar A cigar is a tightly rolled bundle of dried and fermented tobacco which is ignited so that its smoke may be drawn into the mouth. Cigar tobacco is grown in significant quantities in Brazil, Cameroon, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Indonesia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Sumatra, Philippines, and the Eastern United States.

tocacco Tobacco is an agricultural product processed from the fresh leaves of plants in the genus Nicotiana. It can be consumed, used as an organic pesticide, and in the form of nicotine tartrate it is used in some medicines. In consumption it may be in the form of cigarettes smoking, snuffing, chewing, dipping tobacco, or snus.

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Rivals pursue same goal: Reynolds American, Philip Morris prod FDA

Pursuing a reduced-risk niche for smokeless-tobacco products has put archrivals Reynolds American Inc. and Philip Morris USA on the same lobbying path.

It’s not likely that the manufacturers will collaborate on their goal — persuading the Food and Drug Administration to position smokeless tobacco as part of a middle ground between cigarettes and nicotine-cessation products, such as gum and patches.

Still, analysts said that having the top two U.S. cigarette companies pushing for regulatory changes may create more clout than either could get on its own.

“This is truly historic, as the largest tobacco companies are now advocating regulatory policies to reduce cigarette consumption, disease and death,” said Bill Godshall, the executive director of SmokeFree Pennsylvania.

In recent years, the manufacturers have bought their way into top marketplace positions in moist snuff — Reynolds with Conwood and Philip Morris with UST Inc. — as part of strategies for countering declining consumer demand for cigarettes.

Reynolds is considered the industry leader in innovative smokeless products.

Philip Morris’ decision adds an intriguing twist considering it was the lone major manufacturer to push for FDA regulation. Reynolds has pushed for a niche for smokeless tobacco for years.

“It is interesting that the tobacco company that supported federal regulation is now taking a similar view on this topic as we are,” said David Howard, a Reynolds spokesman.

The new stance irks the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Philip Morris’ collaborator on FDA regulation. The group opposes promoting smokeless tobacco as an alternative to smoking.

“We supported the legislation because it’s a very strong law that will reduce tobacco use, so it’s not surprising that Philip Morris would try to undermine it,” said Danny McGoldrick, the vice president of research for the advocacy group.

“This is a ploy to weaken the strong scientific standard Congress adopted for health-related claims, which requires that manufacturers demonstrate that the product significantly reduces the risk of tobacco-related disease for individual users and benefits the health of the U.S. population as a whole.”

Anti-tobacco advocates say that smokeless products can serve as gateway products to smoking for youths, as well as keep smokers using one or both products when they might quit otherwise.

However, a February 2009 report representing 26 advocates and university researchers acknowledged for the first time that smokeless-tobacco products are an option for reducing health risks for tobacco users. Among the 26 advocates was the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

The two-year study, titled “The Strategic Dialogue on Tobacco Harm Reduction,” called for “policies that encourage current tobacco users to reduce their health risks by switching from the most to the least harmful nicotine-containing products.”

Philip Morris said in its letter to the FDA “a regulatory approach that forces cigarette smokers to choose between smoking, on the one hand, and not using tobacco at all, on the other, could have the consequence of preserving cigarette smoking as the dominant form of tobacco use in the United States.”

“A third approach is needed to complement proven prevention and cessation strategies, not to compete with them.”

Analysts said Reynolds could be hurt competitively if a niche is created for smokeless products because it would give Philip Morris incentive to put more resources into the category.

The biggest steps that Reynolds has taken in that direction involved buying Conwood for $3.5 billion in April 2006, and Niconovum AB, a Swedish company that specializes in smoking-cessation products, for $44.5 million in November.

“We believe investors are underestimating competitive threats to Reynolds in its smokeless business in 2010,” said Judy Hong, an analyst with Goldman Sachs. She recently downgraded her rating of Reynolds’ stock from “neutral” to “sell.”

“We admit Reynolds’ smokeless growth was solid in 2009. However, we are increasingly concerned that competitive activity from Altria is likely to continue to step up this year following a 2009 that we view largely as a transition year after its acquisition of UST.”
By Richard Craver
January 12, 2010

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