Malaysia student forced to smoke 40 cigarettes in two hours..

August 9, 2009 - A 16-year-old pupil at a school in Malaysia has been forced as a punishment to chain-smoke 40 cigarettes in two hours after he was caught with a cigarette. The two-packet marathon was carried out before an audience of students and teachers.

A school official, who acknowledged to local reporters in Langkawi that the unorthodox punishment had been administered, assured reporters that it was not a normal feature of academic discipline and “did not happen often”.

This student most likely would have died if he had ingested 40 pieces of a smokeless tobacco product like Camel dissolvables now being test marketed in the U.S. 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.

Related news briefs: Teenager oversdoses on Nicorette gum..; Poison Control Centers - Camel Dissolvables - Nicotine Toxicity...

Reference: Pupil forced to smoke 40 cigarettes in two hours as punishment, Leo Lewis, Asia Business Correspondent, Times_online, 8/6/2009.