Shut Door On 'Tobacco Candy'

A group of senators, led by Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Sherrod Brown of Ohio, called on the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Tobacco Products on Monday to reverse a recent decision that could potentially open the door to the possible sale of tobacco candy – addictive and dangerous dissolvable tobacco products.

Merkley and Brown were joined in this effort by Senators Tom Harkin (IA), Barbara Mikulski (MD), Ron Wyden (OR), Bob Casey (PA), Al Franken (MN), Michael Bennet (CO), Jeff Bingaman (NM), Richard Blumenthal (CT), Frank Lautenberg (NJ), and Bernie Sanders (VT).

In a letter to the FDA, the group questioned why the agency had chosen not to exercise its ability to regulate a new form of smokeless tobacco products produced by Star Scientific, despite asserting jurisdiction over other dissolvable products. The Senators expressed concern that this determination could encourage other tobacco manufacturers to push ahead in selling flavored, dissolvable tobacco candy, such as R.J. Reynolds’ “Sticks”, “Strips” and “Orbs”.

“Given the compelling evidence that these products pose an immediate and significant health risk to children, we urge CTP to reconsider its decision that certain dissolvable tobacco products are outside CTP’s current authority,” wrote the senators.

The group noted that dissolvable tobacco poses very clear health risks, particularly for children. In April 2010, the medical journal Pediatrics found that dissolvable tobacco products can poison and ultimately cause death in children. The Indiana Poison Center estimates that dissolvable tobacco products like Camel Orbs contain between 60 to 300 percent of the nicotine found in one cigarette, an amount of nicotine that can cause noticeable health effects in both adult and youth users. Medical experts estimate that ingesting 10 to 17 Orbs could kill an infant.

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