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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Reynolds American Inc. is entering the nicotine-replacement therapy (NRT) market with the test launch of several new products, reports the Winston-Salem Journal. This marks the beginning of a transformation into what President and CEO Daniel Delen has called "a total tobacco company."
On Monday Sept. 3, Reynolds will launch Zonnic NRT gum through its Niconovum pharmaceutical subsidiary at retail locations in Des Moines, Iowa. Other products in the works include Reynolds' Vuse electronic cigarette, nicotine extract products such as lozenges and Viceroy smokeless pouches and pellets. Vuse and Viceroy are currently being tested at certain Tarheel Tobacco outlets.
"We hope the focus of Zonnic is on the message of the product, and not the messenger, because we believe Zonnic takes the smoker's perspective into cessation," stated Niconovum USA Inc. President Tommy Payne. He added that the Food and Drug Administration has already approved Zonnic.
A package of Zonnic will contain 10 pieces and come in 2-milligram and 4-milligram mint styles, with the latter aimed at adults who smoke within 30 minutes of waking up. Zonnic will also have "stop smoking aid" labeling and sell for approximately $3, half the cost of a packet of cigarettes in the Des Moines market and one-third the cost of comparable NRT gum products, said Reynolds.
Payne stated that Zonnic's appeal is based on "its unique approach to brand positioning, distribution, packaging and price," according to the report. Its smaller package size, compared to NRT products that normally come in 20- and 40-count packages, may be an advantage, since larger packages could be a hindrance to smokers new to quitting, said Reynolds.
The company plans for Zonnic to go on sale primarily at convenience stores, where most tobacco products are purchased, rather than drugstores and big-box stores where NRT products are most commonly sold.
"We want to bring smokers into NRT that haven't been in the category before, whether because of cost, access and motivation," said Payne.
Niconovum officials added that they will earn smokers' confidence and differ from standard NRT pitches that cast quitting in a negative light, taking "an inspirational, positive approach by speaking to adult smokers in a nonjudgmental, respectful manner."
Taglines for Zonnic include "Each cigarette not smoked is a victory" and "It's more than quitting -- it's succeeding," reported the Journal.
If the sales trial in Des Moines is successful, Reynolds is prepared to go national with distribution fairly quickly, Payne noted. "These Niconovum products are a great, if not the best, example of transforming tobacco and providing products in tobacco and NRT that have a well-established variety of risk," he said.