| CHICAGO, April 15
CHICAGO, April 15 R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co is
expanding the test of its Camel snus smokeless tobacco product
to the largest U.S. markets, including New York City, Chicago
and Los Angeles, a spokesman said on Tuesday.
The expansion is the latest sign that R. J. Reynolds, a
unit of Reynolds American Inc (RAI.N), sees a U.S. future for
snus, a refrigerated smokeless and spitless tobacco product
with roots in Sweden.
"I thought the learning curve was going to be a little bit
harder on this one domestically," Gregg Warren, analyst at
Morningstar, said of U.S. acceptance of snus. "Apparently they
are seeing some lift for them."
Reynolds introduced snus in April 2006 in the Austin, Texas
and Portland, Oregon, markets and expanded to six other markets
in July 2007.
The product, which is sold out of a refrigerator on store
counters, is part of the U.S. tobacco industry's attempt to
come up with new products to sell in a market where cigarette
smoking is steadily declining.
Reynolds rival Philip Morris USA, a unit of Altria Group
Inc (MO.N), started testing its own Marlboro-branded snus in
the Dallas-Fort Worth market in August 2007 and expanded that
test to Indianapolis in March 2008. A spokesman declined to
comment on an other potential expansion plans snus.
Camel snus will be launched in Los Angeles; Chicago; New
York; Atlanta; Washington, D.C.; and other markets in May,
Reynolds spokesman David Howard said.
Reynolds American shares were down 33 cents at $57.54 on
Tuesday afternoon on the New York Stock Exchange.
(Reporting by Brad Dorfman, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)