Smokeless tobacco is harmful for kids

Smokeless tobacco may be a less carcinogenic alternative to smokers trying to cut the habit, but the products are increasingly putting young children in harm’s way.

Between 2006 and 2008, according to a study of poison control center data, more than 13,500 children under age 6 were poisoned after accidentally ingesting tobacco products. The study, published in Pediatrics, found smokeless tobacco products were second only to cigarettes as a primary source of ingested poison.

A majority of the accidental ingestions involved children younger than 1, according to the study. Just one milligram of nicotine ingested by a young child can result in nausea and vomiting; more nicotine can cause convulsions, respiratory arrest or death.

The study expressed particular concern about newer products, such as Camel Orbs, which closely resemble candy pellets. Products such as snus, which come packed in small paper packets, are flavored and could entice a young child.

The recently signed Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act does not cover smokeless tobacco products.

Smokeless tobacco may be a less carcinogenic alternative to smokers trying to cut the habit, but the products are increasingly putting young children in harm’s way.

Between 2006 and 2008, according to a study of poison control center data, more than 13,500 children under age 6 were poisoned after accidentally ingesting tobacco products. The study, published in Pediatrics, found smokeless tobacco products were second only to cigarettes as a primary source of ingested poison.

A majority of the accidental ingestions involved children younger than 1, according to the study. Just one milligram of nicotine ingested by a young child can result in nausea and vomiting; more nicotine can cause convulsions, respiratory arrest or death.

The study expressed particular concern about newer products, such as Camel Orbs, which closely resemble candy pellets. Products such as snus, which come packed in small paper packets, are flavored and could entice a young child.

The recently signed Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act does not cover smokeless tobacco products.

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