British news reports have warned of the possibility of children purchasing concentrated doses of nicotine in the form of attractive candies after they were introduced to the market and not classified as tobacco products in the United Kingdom.
Nicotine powder is sold in gum-sized packets and is placed in the mouth, where it dissolves and is absorbed by the body.
According to The Times, some brands of this product feature appealing flavors for children such as jelly, strawberry, and vanilla. They are also sold in brightly colored packaging adorned with cartoon characters.
The newspaper states that these candies are not classified as tobacco products in the UK, making it legally possible to sell them to children, especially after the campaign against teenage vaping of e-cigarettes throughout the country.
Some online sellers promote nicotine sweets as a “healthy alternative to e-smoking” and claim that their products provide a “more discreet way to get a nicotine dose.”
Experts and anti-smoking groups have called on the government to close this loophole that allows the sale of these products to children. They have warned that attempts to keep children away from nicotine through strict measures against e-cigarettes may fail if other sources remain available.
By comparison, one packet of nicotine sweets contains 33 milligrams of this substance, compared to 8 to 20 milligrams of nicotine in a single cigarette.
Statements from Alice Wiseman, the Director of Public Health Policy at the Association of Directors of Public Health in the UK, to The Times:
“Selling highly harmful nicotine tablets that are addictive to children and young people is completely unacceptable.”
“There is currently no regulation in place to stop the sale of these products to those under 18, making them a target for marketing by enticing them to purchase and use such a harmful product.”
“The government should place more restrictions to protect children and young people, by stopping the advertising of nicotine tablets and other similar harmful products as something enjoyable and suitable for someone under 18.”
“More research should be conducted to learn more about the long-term health effects of using nicotine powder.”