A candy-like lozenge designed to satisfy a smoker's nicotine craving could prove dangerously tempting to little ones, researchers point out.
Cinnamon- and mint-flavored Camel Orbs were launched on the U.S. market last year, aimed at smokers needing a nicotine fix when they can't light up. But the Tic Tac-sized product's "candy-like appearance and added flavorings" 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 believe that some adult users of the products are likely to leave them out in the open, where little ones can 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.