Poisoning with nicotine or tobacco sachets on the rise, especially among young people, warns ANSES

Sachets of nicotine, tobacco or even aromatic beads for cigarettes are causing more and more poisoning, mainly among children and adolescents, warns the National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health Safety (ANSES) in a toxicovigilance report published Thursday, November 30. The French public body calls for “special vigilance” on nicotine sachets.

Today, not only the offer of tobacco products, related – without tobacco but with nicotine – or flavors for tobacco products “continues to diversify”but “older, even prohibited, products are also consumed: chewing tobacco and snus (bagged tobacco for oral use)”, specifies the health agency. A review of calls to poison control centers between the beginning of 2017 and the end of 2022 for these five products showed that the number of calls “has continued to increase since 2020” for nicotine sachets, snus and aromatic beads, according to ANSES. “Children and adolescents are the main victims”she notes.

For nicotine or snus sachets, poisonings, sometimes with severe syndromes (prolonged vomiting with risk of dehydration, convulsions, etc.), mainly concern 12-17 year olds, after consumption. “intentional”. Recently appearing, tobacco-free nicotine sachets contain, in a permeable fabric, polymer fibers impregnated with nicotine and slip between the lip and the gum. Despite a similar presentation, they differ from snus, banned in Europe, except Sweden. Given a number of cases “probably underestimated” and an advertit “important on social networks targeting young people”Anses judged “urgently to raise awareness among the educational community, health professionals and those around young people about the risks”immediate but also nicotine dependence.

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Aggressive marketing aimed at young people

Calling for “vigilance” on nicotine sachets “made very attractive to young people”the study coordinator, Cécilia Solal, urged “a regulatory framework for these products”until now without “clear status” neither “no control”. Children have also been poisoned – generally not seriously but around ten ended up in hospital – after accidental ingestion of chewing or heating tobacco.

ANSES also reports “a new source of domestic accidents with aromatic beads” to be inserted in the cigarette filter, born from a diversion of the ban on flavors for cigarettes or rolling tobacco. From three in 2020, calls to Poison Control Centers concerning these products increased to 86 in 2022, in three quarters of cases for children under three years old. It was “always accidental ingestions”, also concerning adults who mistook these marbles for candy or sucked in a poorly inserted marble. As “the packaging of these products includes brightly colored fruit designs and does not have a safety closure”Anses pleads for a less attractive presentation.

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The World with AFP

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