Have you heard about tobacco candy? It’s the latest tobacco product to hit store shelves and critics say it’s designed to get kids hooked early. So what is it? It’s finely milled tobacco made into dissolvable pellets or strips – kind of like those breath strips that melt in your mouth.
Right now, tobacco candy is being test marketed in Portland, Columbus, Ohio, and Indianapolis, which is why senators from Oregon and Ohio are trying to pass legislation to restrict how the products are sold and marketed. Currently, they come in shiny plastic cases that look like cell phones – or breath mint packages. On the front you’ll see words like “mellow” or “fresh” and they’re flavored like candy. As far as kids go, not only is the packaging and taste kid-enticing, it’s easily concealed in a pocket – even in a classroom. They also carry the Camel brand, which is popular with kids.
Senator Sherrod Brown from Ohio says they’re blatantly trying to appeal to kids – because tobacco companies need to hook people early in life to replace the 400,000 customers they lose each year to tobacco related illness or death. The company that makes tobacco candy, RJ Reynolds, says these products are a boon to the industry. They’re smoke-free, so there’s no worry about second hand smoke, and unlike dip, there’s no spitting involved, so there’s no litter. The product simply dissolves in the customer’s mouth.However, lawmakers don’t care about those supposed benefits. They say this product is designed for one thing – to get kids hooked. There is no safe tobacco product. This is a product that, like cigarettes, causes cancer and kills. So parents, warn your kids about tobacco candy. It’s the first step in a potentially life-long, or should I say life-shortening, addiction to tobacco.