The Candy that Kills

First they put cartoon characters on their packaging, and now the tobacco companies are selling nicotine “candy”.  If you have young children, please read this post.  In fact even if you don’t have kids, but smoke cigarettes, please read this as well.  Per an article on yesterday’s Health page:

A new generation of smokeless, flavored tobacco products that look like breath mints or breath-freshening strips may be life-threatening for children who mistake them for candy, according to researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“Nicotine is a poison, and now we’re seeing smokeless tobacco products that look like Tic Tacs or M&M’s, which parents can leave on the counter and children can be attracted to,” says Greg N. Connolly, D.M.D., the director of the Tobacco Control Research Group at the Harvard School of Public Health, in Boston, Massachusetts.

The new products — currently being test-marketed in three cities — include Camel Orbs, which resemble breath mints; Camel Sticks, which are about the size of a toothpick and dissolve in the mouth; and Camel Strips, which are similar to breath-freshening strips.  I’ve included a photo.  Looks like candy to me!

Parents of toddlers beware!

Parents of toddlers beware!

Read more from the American Academy of Pediatrics

Despite “child proofing” the packaging, clearly these “poison pills” could find their way into children’s mouths.  Nicotine poisoning can cause nausea or vomiting, and severe cases can result in convulsions, respiratory failure, and even death. Just under 0.5 milligrams of nicotine per pound of body weight is the minimum lethal dose for children, according to Connolly.

These products are not even smoking cessation aids; rather, they are marketed as a nicotine alternative.  Sure, at least there is no second hand smoke, but I seriously question people will use them in places where they could otherwise light up.  Nope this is just another way to make big companies rich at the expense of our health.

I also have to imagine this posses a risk to older kids as well.  It’s just one more drug for them to steal from their parents in order to get high.  People, I understand how incredibly hard it is to quit smoking, but if not for your own sake, then for the sake of your kids… just say no.  And please don’t buy these poison candies.


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  1. Yikes! I had not heard about these, but they definitely sound like a dangerous item to have around children. Thanks for the heads-up.

    1. Eating cigarettes (simply because they are so accessible) is the most common cause of nicotine poisoning in kids, but the various smokeless products are next. Can you imagine how you would feel if your child was poisoned because he or she wanted to be like mommy or daddy (e.g. imitate you by putting a cigarette, snuff, or these candies in their mouths)… or because they thought these new products were candy? And as parents, even if we don’t smoke, we have to be careful around others who use any of these products, including cigarettes.

  2. Thanks for posting this. I’d never heard of it.

    1. You’re welcome, Brooke. It’s kinda scary the number of things we have to watch out for as parents these days. In the old days parents worried about their kids eating dirt. I understand now, btw, that kids don’t get enough dirt in their diet… but that’s for another blog. 😉

  3. thanks michael about the info. regarding nicotinre “candy”. this is very bad. i remember eating real candy cigg. as a child, these are still available and can also give a child a false impression re smoking.

    1. Hi, Rosie. I remember those candy cigarette’s. My father smoked for most of his life, and it probably contributed to his early death. I’m sure I liked the candy cigarettes as a small child because I could be like daddy. Fortunately I didn’t become a smoker.

  4. YUCK! I hope these die before they get to the market. You are right, they totally look like candy. Thankfully no one in our house smokes but it’s another thing to keep an eye out for when visiting the house of others.

    1. Hi, Merry. Yes, I definitely hope either the three state marketing trial goes badly and/or the public outcry is such they don’t ever make it to broad distribution. That was the point of my blog… to make more people aware. I’d never heard of them before. No smokers here either. Hope you guys are having a great weekend. It was a sunny perfect day (in the 70’s) here in North Texas and we all had fun out and about.

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