This week, I chanced upon the opportunity to try this new product from Swedish Match North America and learn that it is on its way to the largest chain convenience stores in my area.
[Request to one of my readers from SM: Could you put me in touch with your local (Philadelphia area) rep to discuss this a bit more.]
The product has been re-engineered for taste to better appeal to the American palate than do existing General products. It seems like a very appealing product, a huge improvement (at least for this American palate) compared to the existing General mint-ish product, which just tastes like vile medicine to most of us. There is also a version of the new product without characteristic flavoring, which is presumably a bit Americanized from the unflavored US version of General, which is perfectly good but still a bit un-American in its flavoring. (For those interested in more and better product assessments, members of the “snus press” were invited to try these in June to generate some buzz, and several reviews appeared.)
More important, though, is the plan to broaden distribution. Currently I know only a couple of local specialty shops that sell General, while Camel Snus and others are available at every gas station and most every cigarette store. Many of these others are perfectly good products (we, of course, do not endorse any particular Western smokeless tobacco product over any other – they are all equally good for THR). But I have heard many people derisively say, “that’s not real snus!” about the RJR product and others, so the new widely-available General, which seems to deliver more nicotine, faster, and from a smaller pouch than Camel, characteristics which likely appeal to many consumers.
The Swedes and Swedophiles have been saying for a year or two, “that should be our market!”, and this will be a good test of whether that works out. But whether the new product eats Camel’s lunch or RJR stays as strong as ever, the result will be better for consumers, and thus for public health. Never doubt that a single thoughtful company, trying to better serve its customers, can improve the world. Indeed, it is the one thing that most often does.