Tobacco Candy - Gross, But Greener Than Second-Hand Smoke

Camel Orbs Tobacco Candy photo
Yes, tobacco candy, which we first read about at the great food blog La Vida Locavore, has something a touch sinister and gross about it. In ingredients it is similar to the smokeless tobacco 'snus' that is so popular in Northern Europe. While you certainly wouldn't want to find a plastic tin of Camel Orbs in your kids' jeans pockets, they are probably better than second-hand smoke, an environmental hazard that the EPA estimates kills as many as 50,000 Americans each year (up to 3,000 non-smokers die from lung cancer). For one thing, there's less waste from tobacco candy than cigarette butts or other smokeless tobacco pouches.Mmmm, 'mellow' and 'fresh' flavors
Tobacco candy is just what it sounds like - fine-ground tobacco mixed with sweeteners and flavorings. The three brands - Camel Orbs, Camel Sticks, and Camel Strips being piloted in three cities including Portland, Oregon - melt in the mouth in between three and 15 minutes.

According to an article at the blog CigarettesFlavours, tobacco candy can have as much as three times more nicotine than a single cigarette, and children could potentially overdose from the candy (which is theoretically only available to adults 18 and over). On the positive side, CigarettesFlavours quotes R.J. Reynolds spokesman Tommy Payne:

"They don't have second hand smoke. They don't have a litter problem. The product actually dissolves in your mouth as opposed to having to spit or extract something like a patch from your mouth like other smokeless products," Payne said.

No smoke. No spit. And no waste (except for the non-biodegradable plastic packaging). That's got to be better for the environment than regular cigarettes.

Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley has taken something of a stand against tobacco candy, which he says is sneakily being marketed to kids with its cell-phone-sized packaging and Pez-shaped pieces. Merkley added an amendment to recently-passed legislation around the tobacco industry that would charge a new tobacco advisory with studying the effects of smokeless tobacco products and reporting back to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) within two years, and would put regulation of these products under FDA control with the intention of possibly banning them.

photo credit google images
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Smoking: Social and Environmental Impacts
Green Smokers: Never Litter But Still Chuck Butts

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