Tuesday, May 6, 2008

New Camel brand contains crushable capsule

Consumers can squeeze this blue capsule inside the filter of the new Camel Crush to release a menthol flavor. The brand is being test-marketed at local Quality Mart stores.

A tiny blue capsule is the key element in R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.'s latest attempt to woo smokers.
The capsule is embedded into the filter of a regular Camel Lights cigarette.
When smokers squeeze and snap the capsule, it releases menthol to change the flavor. The
cigarettes — packaged in a sleek black and blue box and called Camel Crush — is being test-marketed at local Quality Mart convenience stores, and beginning this month in Pennsylvania.
"We're giving the adult smoker the ability to savor two distinct flavors with Camel Crush and customize the experience," said Brian Stebbins, the senior business-unit director for Camel. "They can crush it a little and get a slight flavor over the length of the smoke. They can crush it completely and get a fresh menthol blast."
Reynolds views product innovation as a positive and differentiating way to compete for adult smokers and market share.
However, the capsule also has become the latest target of anti-smoking groups, which claim that product innovations such as Camel Crush and the marketing of
cigarettesare geared toward attracting young consumers.
"Tobacco companies have carefully designed their products to attract new users, almost all of whom are children," said The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids in a February report titled "Big Tobacco's Guinea Pigs."
"Tobacco products are far from simple tobacco leaf rolled in paper or other packaging. They are highly engineered nicotine-delivery devices, finely tuned to appeal to the taste, feel, smell, and other sensations of new and addicted smokers," the report says.
Stebbins declined to say how much Reynolds has spent to develop Camel Crush, but it has been in the works for several years.
"We had to find the proper type of capsule," Stebbins said. "We also had to invent manufacturing machinery to put the capsule in the same place in the filter consistently without breaking it." Reynolds said it has obtained a patent on the machinery.