Smokeless tobacco products pose poisoning threat to kids

May 1, 2010

Smokeless tobacco products, with their resemblance to candy and added flavorings, may be especially attractive to young children.

Smokeless tobacco products, with their resemblance to candy and added flavorings, may be especially attractive to young children. Results from a new study published online on April 19 in Pediatrics support this supposition: according to this analysis, these products are a common cause of tobacco-related poisonings in young children.

Researchers analyzed data from the National Poison Data System from 2006 to 2008 to determine the frequencies of accidental poisonings caused by ingestion of tobacco products in children aged less than 6 years. A total of 13,705 poisoning cases were reported for all types of tobacco products during this time period; most of these poisonings (>70%) were in infants aged less than 1 year. Smokeless tobacco products were the second most common cause of poisonings (1,768 cases).

The authors stated that these results raise concern because of the recent increase in the prevalence of smokeless tobacco products. They said, "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 to create addiction among youths."