Teenager oversdoses on Nicorette gum..

July 22, 2009 - A boy of 14 collapsed after chewing 45 sticks of nicotine (Nicorette) gum - equivalent to 180 Marlboro Light cigarettes - in just 25 minutes. The teenager chewed his way through 45 sticks - a total of 90mg - meaning he had the equivalent of 180 Marlboro Lights in just 25 minutes The teen said he was given the gum by a classmate who had allegedly been caught smoking.

The teenager's mother yesterday was upset with the school, which allows children as young as 12 to be given up to a week’s supply of Nicorette gum (available in three flavors - Original, Mint and Orange) - 105 pieces – without parental consent to help smokers quit the habit.

Each stick of Nicorette gum contained 2mg of nicotine - the equivalent of four Marlboro Light cigarettes, which each have 0.5mg.

His mother said: ‘I couldn’t believe that this gum can be given out like this without parents knowing. It is then being passed around the playground. ‘The doctors said that he could have died and he had to be kept in for 24 hours for observation. ‘I know what my son did was stupid, but if anything it proves that these kids can’t be given responsibility for taking medication that could do serious harm.’

From news brief: Poison Control Centers - Camel Dissolvables - Nicotine Toxicity..: Smoking a cigarette usually yields 0.5-2mg of nicotine but when placing tobacco in your mouth like nicotine replacement products, moist snuff or the dissolvable tobacco products then all the nicotine is available for absorption.

Nicotine is one of the most lethal poisons known. Nicotine-based insecticides have been barred in the U.S. since 2001 to prevent residues from contaminating foods. A lethal dose of nicotine is contained in as little as one half of a cigar or three cigarettes; however, only a small fraction of the nicotine contained in these products is actually released into the smoke.

In the U.S., R.J. Reynolds Tobacco has started test marketing three dissolvable tobacco products, i.e., Camel orbs - a pellet that looks like candy - similar to a TicTac, soon a flavored tobacco-filled toothpicks will be available followed by edible film strips that dissolve when placed on your tongue. Also Star Scientific flavored lozenges.The taste of these products are usually enhanced by the addition of flavors such as wintergreen, mint and "java."

These dissolvable tobacco products contain between 60 to 300 percent of the nicotine found in cigarettes. Smokers who use these products may get a higher dose of nicotine than they are used to, possibly resulting in adverse reactions such as tremors, nausea, vomiting and agitiation.

While these products are sold in child-resistant packaging, their resemblance to candy and breath mint strips and the likelihood that adults will carry small packages in their pockets or leave them in other unsecured places, means that children may have easy access to them. (In the past small children and even pets were turned off because of the nasty taste of the tobacco but now with flavors they'd be anxious to ingest more. A few drops of pure nicotine placed on the tongue will quickly kill a healthy adult.) Children who ingest one of these products may become pale, shaky, sweaty and may vomit. Because of the pleasant taste of these products, children may want to eat amounts that could result in more serious problems such as slow heart rate and low blood pressure as well as effects on the brain including seizures and coma.

Reference: Boy, 14, collapses after chewing nicotine gum equivalent to 180 cigarettes in just 25 minutes... handed out at school by Daily Mail Reporter, 7/21/2009.