The National Health Security Agency is launching an alert on November 30: nicotine and tobacco sachets as well as aromatic beads for cigarettes are today the cause of multiple poisonings among children and adolescents. The trend is worrying.
This is a warning to be taken seriously. According to a press release from ANSES, the National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health Safety, calls are increasing to poison control centers concerning products derived from cigarettes, used by young people. However, there is nothing harmless about these sachets of nicotine or tobacco.
What are the products in question?
The ANSES alert cites products such as chewing tobacco, tobacco in the form of sachets (snus) but also related products or flavorings for tobacco products whose offer continues to diversify: tobacco heat, nicotine sachets and aromatic beads. However, for these five products, calls received by poison control centers have been constantly increasing since 2020.
Tobacco-free nicotine sachets in particular, called nicotine pouches or nicopods, appeared very recently on the market and are currently not subject to any specific regulations in Europe or Europe. They are to be slipped between the lip and the gum for diffusion of the substance through the oral-gingival mucosa and resemble Snus: tobacco in the form of a sachet for oral use prohibited throughout Europe according to directive 2014/40/EU, except in Sweden.
Adolescents, the first intoxicated audience
Among people poisoned with nicotine sachets and snus, ANSES notes the predominance of adolescents between 12 and 17 years old who have taken these products intentionally. These teenagers presented “sometimes severe acute nicotine syndromes” :
- Prolonged vomiting with risk of dehydration;
- Convulsions ;
- Consciousness disorders;
- Hypotension requiring vascular filling.
But according to ANSES, the number of cases is probably underestimated. “The advertising of these products is important on social networks targeting young consumers. It is therefore urgent to raise awareness among the educational community, health professionals and those around young people about these risks linked to exposure to nicotine.”
Cécilia Solal, who coordinated this study at Anses, insists: “It is essential to put in place a regulatory framework for these products which currently have no clear status and which do not benefit from any control.”
Accidents also among the little ones
But intentional consumption of these products is not the only cause of poisoning. The Anses study also lists calls linked to the accidental ingestion by young children of chewing tobacco and heating tobacco: tobacco sticks to be inserted into a heating device to produce an inhalable aerosol. . Accidents that take place at home due to accessible products. The children presented mild symptoms but around ten of them showed severe nicotine syndrome, like the one mentioned in adolescents, requiring hospital treatment.
Furthermore, since 2020, ANSES has observed a new source of domestic accidents with aromatic beads, small beads to be inserted into the cigarette filter, which have appeared since roll-your-own cigarettes with flavorings were banned for sale.
The number of calls to poison control centers regarding these products increased from 3 in 2020 to 86 in 2022. Three quarters of the people poisoned were children under 3 years old. Poisoning that causes abdominal or stomach pain as well as nausea.
“The packaging of these products features brightly colored fruit designs and does not have a safety closure. Their presentation should therefore be regulated with a view to reducing their attractiveness for children.” specifies the reminder. These products should under no circumstances be left within the reach of children.