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Always Get Better   

 Manufacturers of smokeless flavored tobacco products say they're aimed at adult users who don't want to smoke or spit, but critics worry that they're being marketed to kids.

By JoNel Aleccia

Health writer

April 19, 2010

JoNel Aleccia

Health writer

Smokeless, flavored tobacco products that look like candy and come in packages shaped like cell phones may be contributing to accidental poisonings in very young children, new research suggests.

Nicotine-laced pellets, strips and sticks that dissolve completely in the user’s mouth — dubbed “tobacco candy” by critics — have joined chewing tobacco and snuff to become the second-most common cause of unintentional tobacco ingestion in kids younger than 6.

Between 2006 and 2008, nearly 1,800 U.S. youngsters — almost 600 a year —accidentally consumed smokeless tobacco products, according to an analysis of 13,705 tobacco-related reports to the nation’s poison control centers. That’s a fraction of the nearly 3,600 poisonings a year that involved cigarettes and filter tips, but it worries authors of the new study published in the journal Pediatrics.

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