WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Reynolds American Inc. is betting that smokeless tobacco products will up its net income by 35%, the Winston-Salem Journal reports. CEO/President Daniel Delen revealed few details during a recent talk with analysts, but he did say that the company would debut products in vapor (like electronic cigarettes), nicotine extract items (like lozenges) and nicotine-replacement therapy (NRT) within six months.
Pat Shehan, owner of the Tarheel Tobacco, said the company has limited released Vuse electronic cigarette brand, in addition to Viceroy, smokeless pouches and pellets. While Reynolds is keeping mum about the products for now, Shehan said the brands are available upon request to customers at his stores.
"Since they€™ve asked me to not display the new products, most of the sales have come to Reynolds employees," said Shehan. "But the news of the products is out there."
Delen said that Reynolds sees smokeless tobacco as the next step in the company€™s becoming "a total tobacco company. €¦ We€™re offering a broader range of products at different price points, in line with changing trends in the preferences of adult tobacco consumers and in societal expectations."
Other smokeless products include CamelCrush, Camel Snus and dissolvable Camel film strips, orbs and chew sticks. "In line with our long-term strategy to transform the tobacco industry and reduce the harm caused by smoking, our companies have been hard at work on developing a pipeline of new smokeless and other product innovation," said Delen.
Convenience stores see the benefit of smokeless tobacco products, too, with more retailers devoting more shelf space to the items. "You're seeing more smokeless products sold in convenience stores because there is more demand for it, largely because of the stigma attached to cigarettes or requirements where you can't smoke in certain places," said Jeff Lenard, NACS spokesman.
"It is an evolving display landscape, much like you have seen with energy beverages. It's still not clear who buys these smokeless products, and what the potential liability is. "There is some trial and error with retailers seeing what works best for their stores, but I expect you will see something more standardized over time," said Lenard.