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Critics Charge Candy-Like Nicotine Treat Will Lure Children

By Published on .

CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- As expected, Star Scientific today launched Ariva, a smokeless tobacco "cigalett" product in Dallas and Richmond, Va., test markets.

With Ariva -- made from low-toxin tobacco with nicotine levels comparable to light cigarettes and priced comparably to premium cigarettes -- Star is targeting adult smokers, not moist snuff users, who face increasing social or legal restrictions to smoking. Ariva, powdered tobacco compressed into a pellet, dissolves in the mouth like candy.

'When you can't smoke'
The marketing positioning, "When you can't smoke," will be seen at point-of-sale. All in-store materials will be designed in-house.

No other

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advertising is planned, a Star spokeswoman said.

"We are being very conservative about advertising this product," she said. "We really don't want to be in a situation where there would ever be any sense that this would be appealing to minors." Ariva will be sold in child-resistant packs of 20.

Children at risk
But Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said he thinks children are at risk.

"We're deeply concerned that Ariva will appeal to children because of its sweet taste and because it's easy to use without being discovered," Mr. Myers said. "The potential for abuse of Ariva is very great, and it is not alleviated by a so-called child-proof package. This product has the potential of both discouraging adults from quitting and encouraging children to use tobacco."

Star plans to expand the Ariva rollout to Jackson, Miss., and Orlando, Fla., in the next six weeks.

Mint-flavored nicotine delivery system
Last month, U.S. Smokeless Tobacco introduced in Topeka, Kan., and Youngstown, Ohio, a mint-flavored smokeless tobacco product, Revel. The soft packet Revel is supported by ads from Earle Palmer Brown, New York, with the tagline "Anytime, anywhere," targeting consumers who want to light up but can't.

Revel, unlike dissolving Ariva, must be removed from the mouth after 20 to 30 minutes.

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