Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Smoking Cessation Health Center

Font Size

Smokeless Tobacco a Poisonous Lure for Kids

Candy-Like Smokeless Tobacco Products Increasingly to Blame for Child Poisonings
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

April 19, 2010 -- Candy-like smokeless tobacco products are quickly becoming a major cause of infant and child poisonings.

A new study shows 13,705 poisoning cases were reported from 61 regional poison control centers in the U.S. from 2006 to 2008 involving accidental ingestion of tobacco products in children under age 6. More than 70% of these poisonings involved infants less than 1 year of age.

Cigarettes are still the No. 1 source of tobacco poisoning, but researchers say smokeless tobacco products are becoming an increasingly common source of child tobacco poisoning, especially among older children.

Of particular concern are new dissolvable, compressed tobacco products that come in small pellets, such as Camel Orbs. Researchers say their packaging resembles mints and the products themselves have a candy-like appearance and added flavorings that make them attractive to young children.

"Infants are susceptible to accidental tobacco ingestion because of a natural curiosity and a tendency for oral exploration," write researcher Gregory N. Connolly, DMD, MPH, of Harvard University and colleagues in Pediatrics. "As taste discrimination develops, young children may be more attracted to flavored tobacco products. Ingestion of as little as 1 mg of nicotine by a small child can produce symptoms such as nausea and vomiting."

Severe cases of nicotine poisoning in children may include weakness, convulsions, unresponsiveness, and difficulty breathing and may lead to respiratory arrest and death.

Researchers say smokeless tobacco pellets contain an average of 0.83 mg of nicotine per pellet. The estimated minimal lethal dose of nicotine for children is about 1 milligram of nicotine per kilogram of body weight.

"In light of the novelty and potential harm of these dissolvable nicotine products, federal and other public health authorities are advised to study these products to determine the appropriate regulatory approach, on the basis of their potential to cause poisonings and create addiction among youths," the researchers write.

Today on WebMD

hands breaking a cigarette
Is quitting cold turkey an effective method?
14 tips to get you through the first hard days.
smoking man
Surprising impacts of tobacco on the body.
cigarette smoke
What happens when you kick the habit?

Filtered cigarettes
an array of e cigarettes
human heart
Woman experiencing withdrawal symptoms

man smoking cigarette
no smoking sign
Woman ashing cigarette in ashtray
chain watch