Monday, June 8, 2009

Disturbing Story: Tobacco Lollipops

Apparently, if you take a drug and make it look like candy, it is not going to appeal to children:

On May 27, CNN’s Carol Costello reported on tobacco company R.J. Reynolds new dissolvable “smokeless products.” Noting that critics call them “tobacco lollipops” that are aimed at getting “kids hooked on nicotine,” Costello reported that “R.J. Reynolds will soon test three new products — Camel sticks that dissolve as you suck them, minty tobacco strips that look like breath strips, and orbs — flavored, dissolvable tablets that some say look and taste exactly like candy.”

BURR: But when CNN did their story. Take a guess on the angle that they took. They labeled it as candy. Candy! Even though it’s not candy flavored. They said it was candy. … No, they said it was candy. That’s where they labeled it. … They portrayed Reynolds America as being deceptive and luring children. No candy. It’s not going in the candy section. It’s in the tobacco section where smokeless and stick products is.

Later in his speech, Burr responded to Sen. Jeff Merkley’s (D-OR) criticism that some of the dissolvable tobacco products are in containers shaped like cell phones to attract kids. “Let me assure you, Mr. President, if a cell phone doesn’t work, children don’t want it,” said Burr.

This bothers me on so many levels. We need to be watching out for our children, not getting them hooked on drugs.


Bryant J. Knight said...

I don't see the problem here, although I admit that I do have some bias on this issue (discussed below)

Like all other tobacco products, these "candy" forms of tobacco will be sold in isolated areas, and you'll have to have an ID just to buy them.

For those who are under 18 who somehow still manage to obtain the products, I think the "candy" factor might actually *discourage* use. Many of these kids use cigarettes because they think it makes them look cool or like adults. On the other hand, candy is more symbolic of childishness, so there would be a disincentive to use the "candy" tobacco products.

On a related note, I have seen tobacco lollipops before. Many compounding pharmacies make these products for adults who are trying to quit smoking. The lollipop form gives the user something to do with his hands, so it helps nicotine addicts who have a "hand-to-mouth" habit.

My bias on this issue: My mother used to work at a cigarette manufacturing plant. After more than 20 years on the job, she was laid off because the company went bankrupt, in large part because of excessive tobacco taxes. Years before that, when I was still a young kid, I used to go with Mom to labor union rallies where we'd chant, "No more tobacco tax!" But, not surprisingly, the government hated families like ours and would've been just as happy to see us out on the street.