Candylike Nicotine Lozenges a Risk
A candylike lozenge designed to satisfy a smoker's nicotine craving could prove dangerously tempting to little ones and lead to nicotine poisonings, a new study warns.

Cinnamon- and mint-flavored Camel Orbs were launched in the U.S. last year, aimed at smokers needing a nicotine fix at moments when they can't light up. But the product's "candylike appearance and added flavorings" — the orbs are about the size of a Tic Tac, though not as colorful — are virtually certain to tempt children to sneak one, or a few, with potentially disastrous effects, an article published in advance of May's issue of the journal Pediatrics concludes.

The product is sold in several forms — orbs, strips and sticks — with increasing nicotine potency. The maker, R.J. Reynolds, notes that they are sold in "child resistant" packaging. But researchers conjecture that some adult users of the products are likely to leave them out in the open, where little ones will gain access to them.

A 4-year-old child could suffer potentially fatal poisoning with the ingestion of 13 to 21 orbs or four sticks, and a 1-year-old could succumb to the effects of as few as eight orbs or three sticks. Smaller doses could lead to nausea and vomiting.

Beyond the prospect of unintentional poisoning, researchers flagged the attraction of the flavored cigarette-replacement product to teens, who could then become addicted to nicotine.