SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- How about a smokeless cigarette for nicotine fiends?
Called 'Favor,' the new smoke has no tobacco. It contains only nicotine, inhaled to give that familiar taste.
'It's a product whose time has come,' said Gerald R. Mazur, 64, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, treasurer and director of Advanced Tobacco Products Inc.
The smokeless cigarette is the brainchild of J. Philip Ray, who, along with Mazur, founded the Datapoint electronics corporation before moving on to their newest venture.
Resembling the average cigarette, a Favor includes an element that containsnicotine, tobacco extracts and a free-flow mouthpiece covered by plastic laminated paper. When air is inhaled through the cigarette, pressure changes induce volatility in the nicotine, producing nicotine vapors.
Mazur pointed out that Favors will not be marketed as a method to quit smoking, and although the cigarette is free of tar and carbon dioxide, he does not claim that it is harmless.
'We make absolutely no health claims. We don't say this is good for you or this is the way to quit smoking ... but we offer people the opportunity to take it without the tar and other products.'
Edmund G. Vimond Jr., vice chairman of the board and marketing director, said he has never seen a product that will be so easy to advertise.
At test marketings across the country, he said four out of five smokers said they would try the product again if it was available.
Sincethe cigarette contains no tobacco, it probably can be advertised on television. In three test commercials, the company takes advantage of recent legal attempts curtail smokers' rights.
Favors will be touted as 'the best tasting cigarette you'll never smoke.'
In one commercial, a man tired of being told when and where to smoke says he cannot wait to try the cigarette in front of non-smokers because there was nothing they could do about it.
Since the cigarette is not 'smoked' and produces no ashes, it is up to the individual smoker to decide when he is finished, Ray said.
Each cigarette contains only millionths of a gram of nicotine. During five years of research and development, Ray and his team determined that the nicotine is metabolized in the body just like regular cigarettes.
'Everybody seeks his own level,' Ray said, explaining that light smokers could make a Favor last for several hours, while a heavy smoker could use one up much faster.
Although the test marketing looked promising, the recent stock offering cautioned investors that 'these securities involve a high degree of risk and purchasers may sustain a loss of their total investment.'
But the company is more afraid of potential regulation and taxation than consumer rejection.
Mazur said the FDA could determine the smokeless cigarette is a drug, prompting lengthy tests and marketing delays. Also, the company has not requested a ruling on the applicability of television advertising laws, which prohibit ads for cigarettes defined as 'a roll of tobacco.'
However, plans call for Favor to go on sale in San Antonio and Austin by May 1985, Dallas and Houston in 1986, followed by national and international sales by 1987.