Thursday, July 30, 2009

Orbs: Smokeless tobacco for adults or another ploy by Big Tobacco to hook kids?

As states continue to go smoke-free, tobacco companies continue to find ways to sell their products. One way is developing smokeless tobacco products that are appealing to more people than just baseball players. What they have developed, however, are tablets or strips that dissolve in one's mouth, and look eerily like breath mints.

An example is Orbs, (pictured left) which is the latest Big Tobacco product, and is only available in a few areas of the country.

They look like breath mints, and with clever packaging, they could blend in well with convenience store candy and gum.

Not surprisingly, lawmakers are hoping to regulate the Orbs using the FDA's new authority to regulate tobacco. Tobacco companies claim that they are just an alternative to cigarettes, and are only marketed toward adults.

One lawmaker said he doesn't buy that excuse from Big Tobacco.

"Tobacco candies are clearly designed to appeal to children through both packaging and taste," said Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore. "This is not a safe product. This is not safe tobacco. It is a product that, like cigarettes, causes cancer and kills."

For more information on Orbs check out a USA Today article about it.

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