Proliferation of Nicotine Lollipops… | Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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Proliferation of Nicotine Lollipops Underscores Need for FDA Regulation of all Nicotine Products

Statement of Matthew L. Myers President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
April 03, 2002

Washington, DC — According to published news reports, hundreds of pharmacists across the country have started manufacturing and marketing lollipops spiked with nicotine. The lollipops join a growing bazaar of products that are designed to deliver a highly addictive drug, nicotine, to consumers and are unregulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to protect public health and safety. Many of these products, including the lollipops and the candy-like Ariva tobacco lozenge being marketed by Star Scientific, come in forms likely to appeal to children. The lollipops are also being sold over the Internet where kids can purchase them easily.

The nicotine lollipops illustrate the absurdity of the lack of regulation over cigarettes and other nicotine-delivering products. The public is vulnerable when anyone can take a highly addictive substance like nicotine, stick some sugar on it and sell it without any scientific review or safeguards to protect the public health.

In addition to the lollipops and lozenges, we have recently seen the introduction of other new nicotine-delivering products, including 'Nicotine Water,' a tobacco-filled pouch called Revel being marketed by UST, and new cigarette or cigarette-like products that are being marketed with claims that they reduce health risks for smokers, including R.J. Reynolds' Eclipse, Brown & Williamson's Advance, Vector Tobacco's Omni and Philip Morris' Accord. None of these claims have been proven and several manufacturers have admitted that there is no evidence that any of these products are in fact safer than traditional cigarettes and other tobacco products. Bennett LeBow, Vector's chief executive, has been quoted as saying that Omni 'will not kill them as quick or as much.'

These new nicotine-delivering products underscore the urgent need for Congress to grant the FDA full and effective authority to regulate all nicotine-containing products, including cigarettes and other tobacco products. In addition, the FDA should immediately assert jurisdiction over those products that it can regulate under existing law either because they are not conventional tobacco products or because of the health claims being made about them. Because of its failure to grant the FDA the clear authority it needs, Congress bears responsibility for the introduction of these new products and any harm that they cause. Absent FDA regulation, these products in all likelihood will result in more kids become addicted to nicotine, will discourage smokers from quitting by feeding their nicotine addiction when they are in places where they can't smoke, and will add to the addiction, disease and death caused by tobacco products. Any manufacturer of these products that is serious about reducing the harm caused by tobacco use should join the fight for meaningful FDA authority and pull its nicotine-delivering products from the market until the FDA has authority over them and they have been subjected to the agency's rigorous scientific review process and regulation.