A University of Otago professor is concerned about the launch of a mysterious tobacco product, which appears set to be marketed across New Zealand.
The imminent launch of the product was mentioned in a job advertisement seeking a "dedicated group of 20 to be trained as part of an exclusive team for an innovative new product within the tobacco industry".
The ad said the staff, who would work for "experiential marketing" agency Brand Spanking, would educate adult consumers about the product at music and fashion events and "high end bars, members clubs".
It was seeking staff across NZ, including in Dunedin and the Queenstown area, and said they would need to be available this month.
Successful staff would have work throughout this year.
The product remains a mystery, with the ad saying it was important the "innovative technology" be kept under wraps until the launch.
Marketing professor Janet Hoek said it was hard to comment on the product without more details about what it was. "However, the tobacco industry's objectives don't normally align with public health goals and its innovative technologies have not traditionally delivered consumer benefits," Hoek said.
It was also possible the promotion talked about in the ad breached the Smokefree Environments Act.
Any effort to promote tobacco use among non-smokers was "clearly a concern" and at odds with the Government's goal of achieving a smokefree New Zealand by 2025.
Ministry of Health tobacco control programme manager Jane Chambers said it would "strongly caution any company considering promotions that might promote the sale or encourage the use of tobacco products".
Brand Spanking's job ad, posted online on December 14, was removed after inquiries yesterday.
Brand Spanking director and creative strategist Mark Pickering said it was published in error by a junior staff member.
"Brand Spanking regrets this error."
But he did not respond when asked whether the positions existed or if anyone had been appointed.
A company linked to British American Tobacco is seeking Medsafe approval for a nicotine inhaler called the "Voke Inhaler", but BAT did not respond to a request for comment. The Medsafe website says it sought more information last month.