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Smoking Cessation Health Center

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Get Ready for Nicotine Water

Controversial Product May Be on Store Shelves Next Month


Critics are also skeptical that the nicotine water can be kept out of the hands of children. Reder says he strongly favors a voluntary carding program to make sure the water is not sold to people under the age of 18. But Goldrick counters that carding is only marginally effective in preventing the sale of cigarettes to minors, even though such sales are illegal.

Late last year, 20 health organizations -- including Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the American Cancer Society, and the American Medical Association -- petitioned the FDA to ban the sale of nicotine-spiked water and four other nicotine-delivery products until their safety is determined through independent testing. FDA spokeswoman Kathleen Kolar tells WebMD that these petitions are under review but have not been acted on.

Two years ago, the Supreme Court ruled that the FDA has no current authority to regulate the sale, manufacture, or marketing of tobacco products. But Goldrick says the agency does have the authority to regulate bottled nicotine water, because nicotine has never been approved as an additive to foods and it is clearly addictive, toxic, and potentially dangerous.

"It is ludicrous to think that you can put a hazardous and highly addictive product in a bottle of water and sell it down at the corner store with absolutely no oversight or safety testing by the FDA," he says. "We just think that they should submit, like every other food manufacturer or drug manufacturer, to the safety and effectiveness testing that the FDA does."

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