A new study finds flavored tobacco-free nicotine products such as gums, lozenges and gummies are increasingly popular among teens, HealthDay reports.
“Our findings are concerning because these products often have a high nicotine content, which we know is harmful to teens, and they’re really easy to hide and conceal. They also come in sweet flavors that may appeal to teens, such as cherry bomb and fruit medley,” researcher Alyssa F. Harlow, Ph.D., M.P.H., of the Keck School of Medicine of USC, said in a news release.
The researchers surveyed more than 3,500 Southern California teens, and found tobacco-free oral nicotine products were the second-most commonly used nicotine or tobacco items. They found 9.6% of teens had tried e-cigarettes, while 3.4% had tried flavored nicotine products.
Linda Richter, vice president of prevention research and analysis at Partnership to End Addiction, noted these nicotine products mostly “came on the market as federal, state, and local governments began cracking down more strongly on e-cigarettes and popular vaping products like Juul. The idea was to skirt existing and emerging regulations aimed at restricting tobacco-based products – especially those that come in flavors and appeal to youth – by using synthetic nicotine rather than tobacco-derived nicotine.”