Nicotine Candy? FDA, Can You Please Help a Parent Out?
Jessica HoermanJanuary 20, 2012 5:07 PM
This week, the FDA met to evaluate the safety and risks of dissolvable smokeless tobacco products. These smokeless tobacco products are not stop-smoking aids that many Americans turn to fulfill their New Years resolutions. These dissolvables are instead intended to satisfy nicotine cravings in situations where smoking is not allowed (like at your local public school). They usually come in the form of flavored mints, strips, and sticks of smokeless tobacco. Cigarettes that make your breath smell good? What seems to be the problem?
Apparently, parents are not crazy about how easy it will be for their children to get away with sampling these "mints" and, in doing so, acquiring a nicotine addiction. The mints (marketed under the cute names of "Orbs," "Strips," and Sticks" by Camel) are packaged in very colorful looking containers and the mints are the size of a tic-tac.
But, tic-tac it is not. In fact, the form of the dissolvables has now captured the attention of the FDA. The dissolvables raise concerns about accidental ingestion by young children. A study published in the April 2010 issues of Pediatrics found that smokeless tobacco products are the second most common cause of nicotine poisoning in children. Only cigarettes caused more nicotine poisoning.
The FDA may take action to cap the amount of nicotine in each piece to eliminate or significantly reduce the possibility of a fatal nicotine overdose if a child consumed an entire package. Some experts, and this mother, would rather have this type of smokeless tobacco eliminated. Dr. Lee Beers, a pediatrician at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington D.C. says, “There doesn’t really seem to be any reason to have tobacco in a format that is much more easily ingestible and with quite a few downsides, particularly when you think about children and adolescents.”
Its hard enough worrying about all the future trouble coming my way using my own frame of reference as a background. But, turning nicotine into some sort of acceptable breath mint scares me more than a cheap six-pack and my kids home alone for an evening.