Camel Orbs — mints containing tobacco and nicotine that are being test-marketed by R.J. Reynolds — resemble candy and could appeal to children, critics charge.
The Columbus Dispatch reported Sept. 25 that Reynolds says that the mints are marketed to adults seeking an alternative to smoking. But Eva Garchar, a school nurse in Cincinnati, said, “It's in a colorful candy box and looks just like candy.”
“It's something that looks like a treat, and we find it reprehensible that people put tobacco into these kinds of products,” added Deb Strouse, president of the Ohio Association of School Nurses. “Even if they say they're not advertising to children, we know the products are attractive to children.”
A R.J. Reynolds spokesperson said accusations that Camel Orbs and related products like Camel Sticks and Camel Strips are targeted at children are “completely unfounded.”
The tobacco products can only be sold legally to those over age 18. However, while the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently banned flavored cigarettes on the grounds that they appeal to children, the prohibition doesn't extent to other tobacco products like the mints.
Critics also point out that the products, which contain nicotine, can be addictive and could lead to overdoses if children consume them in multiple amounts.