Teens are turning to 'tobacco-free' nicotine gummies and lozenges
Flavored gummies, chewing gum and lozenges were the second most popular nicotine products among 3,500 Southern California teens surveyed, behind e-cigarettes.
E-cigarettes aren't the only nicotine product that has gained popularity among teens.
A survey of more than 3,500 high school students in Southern California found that flavored chewing gum, lozenges, gummies and other oral products that contain nicotine but not tobacco were the second most popular nicotine items among adolescents, after e-cigarettes.
More than 3% of the students surveyed said they had tried these oral products before, and nearly 2% said they had done so in the last six months. Meanwhile, nearly 10% said they had tried e-cigarettes, and more than 5% reported doing so in the last six months.
In addition to gummies and lozenges, the oral products included tablets and nicotine pouches (small bags of powder placed under the lip.) The products come in flavors like cherry, fruit medley, and pomegranate, and are labeled "tobacco-free." But they aren't approved or advertised as alternatives to help people quit smoking.
"These are a new type of nicotine product" that appeared on the market within the last several years, said Alyssa Harlow, a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine who conducted the research.