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What’s Next? Altria Releases Tobacco Lozenges

Date Posted: June 11, 2012

Is there anything that tobacco giant Altria won’t come up with? Apparently not! The Richmond, Va., company just released their tobacco lozenge. Yes, a non-dissolving, nicotine-spiked lozenge.

Recently, Altria announced to the world that their new product, called The Verve– which resembles a cough drop– is finally ready for market. This product differs from most other smokeless products sold by Altria and Reynolds American Inc. because it has no tobacco. This little chew contains nicotine extract from tobacco, making it unique to moist tobacco or chewing tobacco products.

Another way The Verve varies from the other Altria or Reynolds American Inc.’s holdings is that people don’t have to spit it out to avoid swallowing tobacco. The cellulose fibers and polymers inside of the disc give it a unique, long-lasting texture.

Altria’s Verve will be sold in packs of 16 discs, each containing about 1.5 milligrams of nicotine. This amount of nicotine is less than the amount contained by other smokeless products on the market. The Verve is slated to be sold by more than 50 stores in Virginia, and could be available as early as June. The product will be tested in these stores prior to release, nationwide. The cost is about $3 for stores in Virginia, much cheaper than a pack of 20 Marlboro cigarettes for $4.50. Because Verve contains nicotine, it will only be sold to persons 18 or older.

Additionally, the Government requires mainstream smokeless tobacco products to place labels on the packaging to inform consumers of the risks of cancer, tooth decay and gum disease.  Most importantly, the label states that smokeless tobacco is “not a safe alternative to cigarettes.”

Altria is working closely with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to find an alternative way to  regulate The Verve without the hefty signage. In the meantime, Altria will place a warning label on the new product which states smokeless tobacco can surge the “heart rate, blood pressure and aggravate diabetes.” The label also advises that smokeless tobacco is not safe for pregnant or nursing women.

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