Tuesday, 23 July 2013 01:00

Camel SNUS Less User Friendly for 2013

Written by Catherine DeMarsh-Hellwig
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Camel SNUS: New Adult-Proof Snus Cans and Less Snus for 2013

WARNING I AM ABOUT TO RANT!

I love my husband but I am not sure how much I like him right now.

Bless the snowball he calls a heart. He called me one day and said he took one for the team. I am not sure I understood him at the time but after I picked him up that evening after work I found out he bought one of the new tins of Camel Mellow Flavor… SNUS… and I say that word loosely.

Mick said he wanted to see the new “fresh” tins up close, something about the seals on the new tins.

As for me, my sweet and loving husband told me I should “try” their new Camel Mellow Flavor snus. No warning other than, “It is a little sweeter than you are used to and I bet you within 15 minutes you will want a smoke.”

HOLY Mac and Cheese! Sweet; is this a joke? Did Mick switch the portions out with sugar? As a diabetic, my first thought was, “What is this going to do to my Sugar levels?”

I had to touch the pouch with my tongue several times as well as pop it back out to make sure I had not just put a piece of maple sugar cube in my mouth.

Five minutes in, I was reaching for my smokes. I took a couple of heavy drags off my cigarette, while I had the snus in my lip and thought “you have got to be kidding me.” It was so sweet it made my cigarette taste of sugar.

It was not until almost fifteen minutes into it that I got anything but the sickening sweet taste of sugar, and that turned in to the sickening sweet taste of maple syrup.   Twenty minutes later I was still trying to find the nicotine it claimed to have as I reached for a second cigarette to try and hide the sugar taste.

After 25 minutes, still all I could taste was the sickening sweet taste of sugar with only a hint of maple, and I still wanted another cigarette if only to taste SOME tobacco.

I am told there is no sugar only artificial sweeteners used in Camel SNUS. Really? No sugar? Just because it is corn syrup or molasses, it is STILL sugar. And if it is artificial, which sweetener is it and how much are they using?   High doses of most artificial sweeteners have caused more cancer in lab rats than tobacco.  When it comes to Camel SNUS and “sweet”, Reynolds is certainly not be stingy!

I am now more than ever convinced the RJ Reynolds (RJR) “stuff” they refer to as “snus” is NOT snus, it is sugared tobacco. It’s not even close to what the Swedes have been producing as Snus for over 200 years.

It is like saying apples are the same as oranges. OK they are both fruit, in the same way Swedish and Reynolds snus are both made of 100% grade A tobacco, although I am not as sure with the Reynolds American stuff.  But have you ever heard of or tried an Orange baked pie? There is a reason for that.

[EDITOR'S NOTE:  The statement that Reynolds Camel SNUS is made of 100% grade A tobacco is the opinion of the author and may not reflect the views of SnusCentral.org.  In fact, SnusCentral.org does not certify or even acknowledge that Camel SNUS is made from 100% grade A tobacco. We have no idea what or how Camel SNUS is made.]

Directly on the label the RJ Reynolds can reads: “100% Imported tobacco”.  In a country who has outsourced everything else why not its tobacco? We are a country founded on tobacco and they want to import it? If that was not enough… Reyolds asks snusers to “Please do not litter” yet offers no solution.  Where am I supposed to put my used portions?

Swedish Snus manufacturers give me a catch lid (a used snus ashtray, if you will) built into every can of portion snus I buy. Swedish snus manufacturers are encouraging me not to litter by giving me a place for my used portions. Reynolds doesn’t seem to really care.

From Mellow to roBUST, my SNUS journey continues ......

My husband told my editor about my Camel Mellow experience and how I was working on an article about it. As coincidence would have it, Mr. Editor replied that he had received an email from a gentleman, Mr. Joe Webb, about a month or so before regarding the latest version of Camel SNUS.

Mr. Webb had asked for help in finding someone at RJ Reynolds to address his concerns about the new Camel tins and “SNUS”.

He sent SnusCentral.org the following e-mail:

I was wondering if you could lobby support to get Camel to go back to the original RoBUST flavor cans? Why? They changed to a smaller design with little indents on the sides. The cans are not only harder to open, they pop open abruptly at times throwing the pouches everywhere!

But here's the real sinister nature of Camel snus, the pouches are MUCH smaller in the new cans than they were in the older cans.

Also, the pouches in the new cans are dried out, and Camel cleverly removed the expiration date by hiding it cryptically in a stamped number on the back. This was not the case with the older cans.

I called Camel and they sent me loads of coupons to apologize and assured me that the matter would be resolved, lies all of it. I weighed pouches from a new can and old can to compare and camel has reduced the content along with the size. With the old cans, I had great flavor for nearly an hour no problem.

The new pouches Peter out after 15 to 20 minutes and do not give that great nicotine blast like the previous Robust pouches did.

The bottom line is that Camel told me they switched can sizes and design due to complaints about the old cans???  Hogwash!

If I was a little kid with small hands, then the design would make sense. It is more akin to a petite feminine compact used by women for makeup which is plain off the wall. Okay, bad enough, but now that they've shrunk the pouches they can just kiss my bloody ass!

Sorry for the rude description of how I'm feeling, but Camel is crooked as Hell and a total scamming company. If you can expose their bullshit, that would perhaps force them to do the right thing?

As responsible snus journalists, my editor had forwarded Mr. Webb’s e-mail to SnusCentral’s old friend David Howard; Sr. Director – Communications, Reynolds American Services, asking for the Official Company Response.  Mr. Howard replied promptly with the following:

I hope all is well.

Thank you for the opportunity to provide a comment.

We never like to hear of an adult tobacco consumer having a bad experience, and are glad they reached out to our consumer relations representatives. We listen to our consumers and welcome their feedback.

Earlier this year, we introduced new Fresh Seal packaging for Camel SNUS. The Camel SNUS Fresh Seal packaging ensures the freshness and flavor adult tobacco consumers have come to expect from this premium product, without refrigeration. This packaging transformation incorporates a thinner, easier-to-carry tin, and offers new opportunities to broaden awareness and trial among adult tobacco consumers.

With Camel SNUS, the last pouch is as fresh as the first, with the Fresh seal locking in freshness, ensuring great taste and a flavorful tobacco experience for adult tobacco consumers. Though the packaging has changed, no changes have been made to the Camel SNUS product, which remains the exact same premium product it has always been.

According to our most recent sales data, Camel SNUS has nearly an 80 share of market in the snus category in the U.S., making it far and above the most popular brand.”

Again, thanks for the opportunity to provide a comment. Please don’t ever hesitate to reach out to us.

Take care.

In fairness Mr. Webb was talking about the roBUST flavor not the Mellow SNUS which my husband so kindly tricked me into trying. Maybe Camel SNUS roBUST was... well... more robust?  I was now sucked into this Camel SNUS mystery and wanted to learn more.

I was willing to try roBUST Camel SNUS in order to fully understand the issue behind the email sent as well as the response Mr. Editor had received from David Howard.  Mr. Editor was more than happy to let me protect his taste-buds and run with the whole ‘new Camel SNUS’ story.

I have in the past made it known I don't pull any punches, and I refuse to start now. As I've also implied earlier in this article, I’ve also made no secret of the fact I am a dual user; when I can’t smoke, I snus. When I smoke, I ironically smoke Camel Menthol's, the crush type… made by RJ Reynolds.

Camel roBUST Snus can of unknown ageEnough about me; time to look at Camel roBUST SNUS.  This was going to prove more difficult than I had anticipated as the new version of Camel SNUS roBUST was nowhere to be found in my area.

Since it was seemingly impossible for me to personally try this flavor, I asked several friends to ask anyone who had tried this roBUST flavor to talk to me.

A friend who recruits ex military to become personal guards for hire had a ready-made select group from which to pool for questions about tobacco.

Several were willing to give me feedback, all of which were generally the same; the pouches were slightly smaller, drier, and doesn't last as long as in the older tins.

One of the gentleman said he had tried several different types of Big Pharma quit smoking products, all of which failed, when a friend introduced him to Camel SNUS.

He said he found it sweet and enjoyable, but when they changed to the newer tins and slightly smaller portions he was unsatisfied and decided to quit tobacco altogether. Sadly, within a week he was smoking again.  Nicotine addiction is not so easily dismissed.

Another gentleman said, “There is not enough nicotine in the Camel SNUS to satisfy my craving for nicotine, and the sweetness of the flavor makes me just want to eat more desserts.”

Another gentleman from Texas who flies a lot for business, told me about also having issues with not only the new tins themselves but also the newer portions.

Like Mr. Webb, he agreed that the new tins were “adult proof” and also that the portions seemed slightly smaller, drier and didn't last as long. He said on an average 6 to 8 hour flight what would have been one tin maybe a tin and a half trip is now two or three tins.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: On flights from Texas to Sweden, Denmark, or the UK, I have NEVER had to consume even a single can of Swedish snus to comfortably enjoy the entire flight.  I am also a true nicotine addict and chain-snus too!]

I am wondering what research RJR did on these new SNUS tins? I have only researched this for a couple of weeks so far and found more complaints about the new tins of Camel SNUS then approval. How many yes men does it take to over look your already loyal customers?

Although Mr. Howard stated, “Though the packaging has changed, no changes have been made to the Camel SNUS product, which remains the exact same premium product it has always been.” everyone I have spoke to seems to say differently, centering around the same things, “The portions are slightly smaller, drier, had less nicotine, and the flavor did not last as long.”

I am thinking the tobacco may have come from the same places, and the same recipe was used. However in the slightly smaller portions could cause the portions to dry out quicker, which in turn negatively influences the flavor, the amount of user-available nicotine the snus contains, and causes the portion to not last as long.

So in all fairness if Mr. Howard is talking about the “recipe,” or the “tobacco” itself, then he could in all honestly say yes… “Though the packaging has changed, no changes have been made to the Camel SNUS product, which remains the exact same premium product it has always been.

In the interests of brevity, I'm not going to wonder how after 6 years of bragging that Camel SNUS was Sold Cold (just like every single can of snus in Sweden made by every Swedish snus manufacturer is) to ensure freshness, RJR suddenly dismisses the entire concept they had embraced over a better sealing can? Really?

Could the lack of moisture and complaints of low nicotine and portions drying out quicker have anything to do with the move away from refrigeration?  Absolutely, especially since American snus contains less moisture than Scandinavian snus does to begin with.

More likely Reynolds discovered they could make more profit just by not buying and supplying their merchants with the admittedly expensive in-store SNUS chillers.

Swedish Match snus chillers are expensive too but every can of General Snus sold in the US market is sold from chillers, just like in Sweden.  There are just some corners you can’t cut and still offer a quality product.

Camel SNUS roBUST and the new SNUS tins

Now I have been working on this article for over a month, and FINALLY my editor found a tin of the Camel roBUST. Getting up my courage, I took another one for the team.

With both of us unsure whether he had sent me the older style or the newer style tin, I sent off an e-mail to Mr. Howard about what I had and asked about finding this new tin of roBUST flavor in my area.

He replied that I had one of the older style tins and should be able to find the newer roBUST tins anywhere in Speedways throughout the Columbus, Ohio area.

I have gone into and or called over a 100 Speedways in my area and they all have told me the same thing… “We only have the Mellow, Winterchill, and/or Frosted flavors.”

Another month went by and still no luck in finding the latest incarnation of Camel SNUS roBUST.  I talked with a few convenience store managers; it was not that roBUST was so popular they couldn’t keep it in stock; they just never received any.

By now Mr. Editor was asking if I would have this article done in 2013.  Indiana Jones had an easier time finding the Temple of Doom than I was having in my quest for Camel roBUST.

Suddenly, there was a breakthrough!  I just got back from picking up my roommate from work at Giant Eagle Get-Go and finely found a new tin of Camel roBUST snus! I couldn’t believe it; I had finally found this elusive tin of tobacco. Here I go again… taking another one for the team.

After weighing all the portions in the tin with Mick’s super-sensitive electronic gunpowder scale, I found the roBUST SNUS portions ranged from 0.87 to 1.02 grams each.  That’s a pretty huge variance!  I guess quality control is not a big priority to RJR when manufacturing Camel SNUS.  Further proof of this was my discovery that were only 14 portion pouches stuffed into the new smaller tin; not the 15 RJR claimed.

This gives me an average of 0.945 grams of SNUS per portion. OK, that may be close enough for government work, but RJR is a public company.

I cut open one of the pouches to find a somewhat medium to dark colored extremely finely cut as well as dry tobacco. It reminds me of dry potting soil. Camel roBUST had an almost floral or rose tea smell to it.

I dumped the now open portion onto a piece of white paper.  The SNUS was darker then the Mellow portion I had done this to earlier, but still just as dry as the Mellow portion.

I noticed on the tin there is no refrigeration needed after opening and how it also reads on the side of the tin “0% US tobacco 100% Foreign Tobacco, Sales only allowed in the US”.

Popping a pouch into my mouth, I waited in terrified anticipation.  The first thing I noticed was my mouth drying up as the portion sucked all the moisture out of my mouth followed by the rush of sweetness.

I am reminded of the old Wendy’s commercial of “WHERE’S THE BEEF?” I want to scream, “WHERE’S THE NICOTINE?” “WHERE’S THE TOBACCO FLAVOR?” Where on earth is anything but this sugary sweetness?

After about 10 minutes again all I can really “taste” is the sugar. It is almost like a sweet herbal flavored tea, not the tobacco, or anything like “roBUST” which it claims. Again I have to ask, “WHERE’S THE NICOTINE!” I know I put those smokes somewhere.

Editorial Cartoon:  This is NOT the official Camel SNUS Logo. Now granted this is not as sweet as the Camel Mellow flavor I had tried before but still the package says roBUST so what is so robust about this? Where did I put my smokes? Just kidding,

I’ve had a pouch of roBUST in for another 10 minutes and nothing. (Well except for the sugar.) No, really where are my smokes?

Last but not least, the new tins themselves…

I will give you they are smaller, slimmer and over all easy to hide. They slip easily into just about any pocket, either in my jeans or into the change pocket in a purse or bag.

BUT… you knew there was going to be a “but” in there somewhere didn’t you? You know me all too well.

I am not sure about this “freshness” seal. As dry as the product is I am curious if the seal was to keep what incredibly diminutive moisture there is in the can? or out?

I recently came across a video from a couple of guys in Sweden who had purchased the special edition General Snus Waterproof Snus Cans. They showed the inside of their snus-filled can, screwed the top on, and then tried to dunk it under water.

One even went as far as holding it under in 2 meters of water in his pool for a few minutes, then showed how no water was able to penetrate the inside of the can. (Which by the way, has a place inside where I could put my used portions separate from my unused portions.)

This gave me an idea. I made sure the Camel Mellow tin was on tight, and then filled my bathroom sink with water. And yep you guessed it! I dunked the Camel tin in.

I pushed it around a little; submerged it under water a couple of times to give it the full treatment. Then… pulled it out dried it off with a towel and attempted to open it.

Results? Portions of somewhat semi-dry portions all over the bathroom floor, sink, and one even flew as far as to land in the toilet three feet away.

So maybe water resistant but not water proof. Which comes to the other issue many have with the new tins: yes, they are adult proof.

I could understand if they were water proof maybe… but to be honest my 10 year old niece and 13 year old nephew could open the tins easier than any adult I have had try. I think it has to do with their fingers being smaller, stronger and more nimble then most adults.

I have to give RJR credit for trying, but they have, yet again, missed the target by miles.

Nielson data giving Camel SNUS an 80% share in the USA market is a bit of an empty boast when you consider that total US snus (of any kind) consumption is only roughly equal to that of the country of Norway.

Snus is still a great unknown within the USA but its use and consumer knowledge are growing every year.  I doubt that Reynolds will be holding an 80% snus market share by the end of 2014 if not earlier.

Lowering content, quality control and abandoning the in-store snus chiller in favor of leaving it to sit on shelves to experience constant swings in temperature is not the way to grow or even maintain your market share….or maintain any meaningful nicotine level.

A Happy Snus Ending for Joe Webb

Mr. Webb and I shared only a few e-mails about his snus experiences when he wrote me the following:

As for the taste of the SNUS, yes it is terribly sweet, and it never really bothered me until I purchased Ettan Original and General Original snus.

I purchased 20 cans of each, and I find that I really like both very much. Funny thing is that after using Ettan and General Snus brands, I no longer like the overly sweet taste of the Camel RoBUST Snus.

I generally prefer the non-flavored snus now that I've actually used real tobacco flavored snus. My only gripe with the General Original is that it can be a bit salty if you use it on a regular basis. I switch back and forth between the Ettan and General and find that it works out great.

I simply use an empty can to put half Ettan and half General in the can, and I made myself a makeshift plastic divider that I superglued into the can to keep them separate from each other to avoid flavor carryover via osmosis of sorts.

In any case, I'm fairly certain that I'll not go back to the Camel Snus now that I've had the pleasure of using Swedish Snus. I can honesty state for the record that I now agree with all the people who claim that Swedish Snus is much, much better than any American Snus.

Don't get me wrong, I'm as patriotic as the next person, but when it comes to snus, I'm Swede all the way.

I appreciate you taking the time to address my concerns, and I wish you well always.

I was thrilled to hear Mr. Webb had tried Swedish Snus and loved it. Welcome Mr. Webb, to the light side where we have real Snus. If only more people would take a page out of his book and give Swedish Snus a try!

To the 80% of snus users which RJR claims in the United States, I leave you with this:  If you would like snus that has over a 200 YEARS of consistent quality, full richness of flavor, real tobacco satisfaction, and a wonderful and colorful history behind it, maybe try putting down your sugar tins of Camel SNUS and try some REAL Swedish snus.

CATHERINE DeMARSH-HELLWIG

A Proud American, Tobacco User, and Gun Owner
Calling it like I see it for SnusCENTRAL.org

Read 16589 times Last modified on Saturday, 09 November 2013 03:08

3 comments

  • Comment Link Pau Monday, 10 April 2017 00:51 posted by Pau

    I like the product but there is a lot of pouches that only have about a quarter of a pouch full or being short a pouch if this keeps going on will have to switch to something else cause not getting what I pay for makes me full like I'm getting riped off and my buisness is not appreciated and tell everyone to start counting the pouches and about the ones thats about empty I'm sure I'm not the only one

    Report
  • Comment Link Larry Waters Monday, 02 June 2014 22:54 posted by Larry Waters

    Congratulations, William! The end result of quitting a 25 year smoking habit is all that counts.

    Camel SNUS didn't do it for me but I'd never heard of Swedish snus before trying the US version of Camel.

    Camel's tag line back then was "when you can't smoke, snus". They never intended for SNUS to replace cigarettes; just for use between cigarettes.

    I will always be personally grateful for Reynolds American and the architect of their original Camel SNUS campaign in 2007, Susan (Ivey) Cameron. Camel SNUS led me to real Swedish snus and I'm 7 years cigarette free now.

    I'll always be a nicotine addict but thanks to Swedish snus I'll never smoke again. If American snus ever starts making snus with enough bio-available nicotine for me and tones down the sweetness, maybe I'll try it again.

    You're more the exception than the rule, but if Camel SNUS enabled you to quit cigarettes, then good for them and great for you!

    Report
  • Comment Link William Potter Friday, 30 May 2014 20:48 posted by William Potter

    So much bias against Camel Snus! I started on Camel Mellow then switched to General Mint now Im BACK on the Camel. It may NOT be an import but plenty of people like it just fine! It ended a twenty five year smoking habit which is all I need it to do.

    Report

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