Smokeless tobacco products designed to attract the young

New smokeless tobacco products with slick packaging and candy-like appearance can lure young people and others into smoking, and, despite having lower nicotine levels, still cause cancer and other health risks, says Gregory N. Connolly, professor of the practice of public health and director of the Tobacco Control Research Group at HSPH. Connolly discussed his views in a Nov. 17 interview with CBS Boston (WBZ-TV).

Tobacco use continues to be the leading cause of preventable death and illness in the U.S., according to the report. Some 8,000 Massachusetts residents die each year from smoking.

The new smokeless flavored tobacco pouches, called snus, entered stores in the past year. “… All of the sudden you have all these products [that]… target the young who are the most vulnerable to the toxic effects of nicotine and to becoming addicted and becoming a cigarette smoker for life,” Connolly said.

He also warned that another new tobacco product that is being introduced in the U.S., dissolvable nicotine pellets that resemble candy, could lead to accidental nicotine poisoning if they’re eaten by young children. “If you take ten of these and you have the body weight of a 1-year-old, you’re in the hospital,” Connolly said.

Watch the WBZ-TV interview

More information

Tobacco Company’s New, Dissolvable Nicotine Products Could Lead to Accidental Poisoning in Infants and Youth (HSPH press release)

“Stealth Tobacco: Products Designed to Evade Control” (HSPH Review article)

Tobacco Industry Systematically Manipulated Cigarette Menthol Content to Recruit New Smokers Among Adolescents and Young Adults (HSPH press release)