The nicotine laced candies were intended for smokers to indulge in their smoking habit in a smoke-free setting.
But now researchers, writing in a published report, warn that the nicotine “candy” can be consumed by children and poses a serious health threat.
Last year tobacco giant, R.J. Reynolds introduced the tobacco product called, Camel Orbs, which is a nicotine pellet resembling a Tic Tac mint/candy containing one milligram of nicotine per.
Flavored with cinnamon or mint, children can consume the pellets and be sickened by the quick absorbing form with as little as one milligram of nicotine.
"This product is called a 'tobacco' product, but in the eyes of a 4-year-old, the pellets look more like candy than a regular cigarette. Nicotine is a highly addictive drug, and to make it look like a piece of candy is recklessly playing with the health of children," study author Gregory Connolly, director of the Tobacco Control Research Program at the Harvard School of Public Health, said in a university press release.
The research is published in the April 19 online edition of Pediatrics.
The Orbs will be sold in grocery and convenience stores, readily available to young people. The company also produced Camel Strips and Camel Sticks.
Symptoms of nicotine poisoning can include nausea and vomiting. Ingesting 10 to 17 Orbs could be lethal, according to researchers. In one case, a three-year-old consumed the little Orbs. His poisoning was reported to the Oregon Poison Control Center.
In all, researchers looked at more than 13,000 cases of children ingesting smokeless tobacco products. More than 70% were ingested by infants under the one year of age.
In response, R.J. Reynolds says that it has made its packaging ‘child-resistant.”
The FDA has new regulatory powers over tobacco under the FDA Center or Tobacco Products and is reportedly paying close attention to these data.
The dissolvable nicotine candies could become the next issue it seeks to regulate under powers generated by Tobacco Control Act. Last September, the FDA banned the manufacture of import fruit flavored cigarettes, designed to appeal to young, potential smokers. #