Merkley takes stand against “tobacco candy”

Oregon’s junior senator is taking a stand against “tobacco candy” – smokeless, dissolvable tobacco. RJ Reynolds is test-marketing “Camel Orbs” candy tobaccoin candy tobaccoPortland, as well as Indianapolis, Ind., and Columbus, Ohio. The Orbs come in two flavors: “mellow” (similar to cinnamon or caramel) and “fresh” (mint). RJ Reynolds plans to introduce “Sticks” and “Strips” later this year.
Merkley and fellow Democrat Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio carried the amendment. The U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions approved the amendment Tuesday as part of the landmark legislation to allow the Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco.

According to a news release from Merkley’s office, the Indiana Poison Control Center estimates dissolvable tobacco products such as the Camel Orbs contain between 60-300 percent of the nicotine in one cigarette.

The Merkley-Brown amendment would require the new Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee to immediately study the public health effects of tobacco candy and report to the FDA on its findings in less than two years. The committee will provide the FDA with all the information it needs about the public health impact of these tobacco candy products, particularly the risks to children, so it can make sure tobacco companies aren’t able to use them to hook a new generation of kids on deadly products.