Orbs now come free with purchase of Camel, Winston, Kool, Salem and other RJ Reynolds brands..

March 31, 2009 - Indiana has one of the highest youth smoking rates in the country. The latest figures reveal that 22 percent of high school students in Indiana smoke.
Educators want to reach young people before an addiction to nicotine takes hold. Now they are warning of a new nicotine delivery device that is smoke-free dissolvable tobacco products.

Those who educate kids about tobacco are adding extra chapters to include new dissolvable products.

"They are all over Hancock County. They are all over central Indiana," said Brandee Bastin, Hancock County tobacco educator.

Camel Orbs come in a palm-size pack. Inside are tablets made from finely ground tobacco. Central Indiana - Indianapolis area along with Portland, Oregon and Columbus, Ohio are test sites for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco's Camel dissolvable tobacco products.

"Part of it is a tactic to keep people addicted. 'If you can't smoke at work, hey, use one of these smokeless tobacco products.' But the point is there is no safe level of tobacco products," said Bastin.

State lab tests reveal the nicotine content in a dissolvable product can be 60 to 300 percent higher than in one cigarette.

"They have flavors like cool mint, just like Listerine pocket packs (R.J. Reynolds will soon be testing edible flavored tobacco strips in the Indianapolis market), except with a little death punch that kids don't know about," said Meg Highley, a junior at Mt. Vernon High School.

Wednesday (March 25, 2009) was a national day of youth awareness about tobacco. It's called Kick butts day," said Delana Bennington, Boone County tobacco educator "It is literally cigarette butts." Students in Lebanon cleaned up the grounds at Witham Hospital.

While Orbs might be smoke-free, the product carries risks. "It's just another way to get youth addicted even earlier to nicotine and tobacco. We are just trying to make sure that everyone knows that this stuff is out there because we don't want someone to talk in the gas station and see - oh that looks like a safe form of tobacco because there isn't one," said Highley.

It looks like with tobacco dissolvables kids will becoming nicotine addicts at younger ages than with smoking. (tobaccowatch.org)

Reference: Students warned of new tobacco product that looks like candy, Anne Marie Tiernon/Eyewitness News, wthr.com - 13, 3/25/2009.