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Nicotine Lollipops:
April 3, 2002 10:35 AM   Subscribe

Nicotine Lollipops: Next up on the list of products to help you quit smoking but not the addiction. NicoStop, NicoPop and Likatine are some of the brand names these laced suckers carry, but the interesting thing here is that it's not a giant pharmaceutical company making them -- it's your neighborhood pharmacy, and they're doing it below the radar of the FDA. (more inside.)
posted by me3dia (22 comments total)

 
From a Wall Street Journal article today:
"No one is tallying sales in this cottage industry, but it's clear that they are growing fast. One supplier to pharmacists says sales of the nicotine used in lollipops increased 20-fold from 2000 to 2001. Many pharmacists also are concocting nicotine-spiked hard candy, gummy lozenges and even lip balm, selling them in stores and on the Internet.
"The lollipops are drawing fire from critics and putting druggists into the crosshairs of regulators. Congressman Henry Waxman, a California Democrat, says he is writing a letter to Health Secretary Tommy G. Thompson asking him to halt sales of nicotine lollipops and similar products immediately until they are tested. "An addictive drug should not be masked by sweeteners and sold as a lollipop without a thorough review by FDA and strict safeguards to prevent inappropriate underage use," Mr. Waxman says.

"An FDA spokesman, Brad Stone, said the agency "is looking into" the legality of the lollipops and declined to elaborate."
Of course kids'll buy them -- these things sell for $2-3 each, though, a significant amount of money for a kid to buy one, considering cigs are easy to get.
posted by me3dia at 10:40 AM on April 3, 2002


Not to mention they won't help idiots who smoke to actually quit. The reason the patch helps is because it levels out the amount of nicotine in the blood, and that helps reduce craving.
A lolipop lasts about as long as a smoke. I suppose if they are lucky they'll get people addicted to the pops, and sell that many more.
posted by Blake at 10:43 AM on April 3, 2002


*sigh*

Not to mention they won't help idiots who smoke to actually quit

Y'know, it's self-righetous bullshit like this that make me want to keep smoking, just to spite all the obnoxious militant non-smokers out there. Starting in the first place was a stupid move to make, sure, but the ensuing addiction is a disease, not just idiocy.

That being said, today is Kick Butts Day 2002!

Full disclosure: I'm trying to quit right now, actually. Sorry for being snippy.

*looks at ground, picks at patch on arm*

posted by andnbsp at 11:17 AM on April 3, 2002


"it's self-righetous bullshit like this that make me want to keep smoking, just to spite all the obnoxious militant non-smokers out there. "
Killing yourself won't spite anyone else.
It should just make you want to quit, good point on it being a disease, and I feel your pain, but jeepers creepers, smoking to spite me (or anyone else) is idiotic, not that I think anyone really would, or would they?
Good luck quiting, really, I can only imagine how hard it must be.
Don't take it as self-righetous bullshit, take it as good advice. It may be self-righetous, but it ain't no BS.
posted by Blake at 11:25 AM on April 3, 2002


weakness ­ disease. i still relapse from time to time - i smoked for 10 yrs and gained 20 lbs when i quit - but i don't blame anything other than my own far-less-than-herculean willpower for my inability to completely and utterly quit smoking forever.
posted by luriete at 11:35 AM on April 3, 2002


Um, Blake, calling someone an "idiot" and then, when they object, telling them to "take it as good advice" is a poor communication strategy.

All I really came to this thread to post was that "Likatine" has to be the best brand-name ever.
posted by BT at 11:36 AM on April 3, 2002


I guess this means Telly Savalas had the right idea all along.

Also, for the record, the best product name ever is Flonase.
posted by jjg at 11:53 AM on April 3, 2002


It should just make you want to quit, good point on it being a disease, and I feel your pain, but jeepers creepers, smoking to spite me (or anyone else) is idiotic, not that I think anyone really would, or would they?

Addiction and irrationality do tend to go hand in hand, but you're right, I did go a little over the top there.

Regardless: If certain non-smokers think that they're on some imaginary "level" above smokers just because they're not chained to a habit, can't they at least prove it by showing some freaking class once in a while and not act so incorrigibly patronizing?

<end thread derail>
posted by andnbsp at 11:58 AM on April 3, 2002


>Starting in the first place was a stupid move to make, sure, but the ensuing addiction is a disease, not just idiocy.

It's very unlikely that anyone still alive and smoking started before the implications of smoking were so very public... But I won't go into that because most smokers I've talked to agree that starting smoking was the silliest things they've ever done. And we've all done some stupid things.

Glad to see you're quitting. Its good timing because in the future there'll be more cities like the one I live in that go smoke free.

Not that I'm for banning the sale of the cigs (I'm not) but I'm all for not having a death cloud hanging around me. Feel free to enjoy the lollipops and patches though!
posted by shepd at 12:07 PM on April 3, 2002


A couple of things:

The lollipop idea is a good one to wean smokers off the butts, because it gives you something to do with your hands.

How would these be easier for kid to get than cigarettes? They won't be any easier to get than Nicorette Gum right? It's like saying kids are going to buy Advil by the truckload because it tasted like candy.

These operate on the "per craving" theory...meaning you eat one when you feel like a cigarette, as you do with the gum. The patch is a sustained nicotine flow.

aside: I smoke one or two a day. I have quit off and on, but I just like it. Everything about it. The smell. The taste. The act of smoking itself. I can't imagine a day when I wouldn't have a smoke if I really felt like it.
posted by Kafkaesque at 12:16 PM on April 3, 2002


andnbsp: congratulations on trying to quit. or quitting. or wherever you are with it. smoking is idiotic, but the best of us can be idiotic at times (me for about 10 years, two years off as of now). it is an addiction and that should not be overlooked, but it is not something which the average person is helpless over, given the resources most of us have (patches, support groups, etc.)
posted by adampsyche at 12:20 PM on April 3, 2002


This is rather timely as everyone around me has been getting on my ass to kick my 2-pack a day Marlboro habit. My boss lectures me every time I go out back to "feed the monkey" as I put it and Lisa has taken to sending me into the basement to smoke. I've also been told that my voice has been getting croakier and croakier. Perhaps 17 years of smoking is enough, I just gotta work up the fortitude. Maybe the nico-suckers are an option. If anyone knows any better ones lemme know.
posted by jonmc at 12:32 PM on April 3, 2002


How would these be easier for kid to get than cigarettes?

No, no, no, they wouldn't be -- these are sold at a pharmacist counter, theoretically only with a prescription (although there's no scrip needed to buy online). What I was trying to say is, if one lollipop costs almost as much as a pack of cigarettes, kids might buy them, but only for the novelty, and only if they can find a pharmacist willing to sell it to them.
posted by me3dia at 12:34 PM on April 3, 2002


I just heard about some kind of tobacco pill on NPR; as a non-smoker, I think these things are great ideas, because my main objection to smoking is how the smoke impinges on =me=. I don't care if the smoke causes diseases in those not smoking, the stuff is noxious. Smoking around nonsmokers is like leaving your dog's crap on the sidewalk.

However, these products make me very suspicious. Though it can seem like a cynical exploitation of the addicted, I also wonder if it's a tool of those who are trying to get nicotine and tobacco on the list of controlled substances. I mean, this makes tobacco and nicotine easy for kids to use, and is definitely a drug-delivery device. I can't imagine cigarette companies want tobacco and nicotine marketed like this for it makes it so tempting for politicians to put tobacco under the purview of the FDA.
posted by meep at 1:16 PM on April 3, 2002


Re: tobacco pill

It's called Ariva (scroll down to press release dated November 14, 2001), is manufactured by Star Scientific, and tastes exactly like an Altoid (I live in one of the test markets). Just pop it in your mouth and let it dissolve. It could turn out to be a great replacement for people who use nicotine gum, since it's much, much, much cheaper: ~ $4 for a box of 20.

It seems similar to a smokeless tobacco product that's very popular in Sweeden called snus.
posted by andnbsp at 1:40 PM on April 3, 2002


from andnbsp's article: ``We have tracked the product back to 1820 -- it was originally the nasal snuff used by upper classes all over Europe. For some reason it dropped from the nose into the mouth,'' he said.
That's called post-nasal drip, I think...
posted by nprigoda at 1:53 PM on April 3, 2002


Oh, crap. On closer inspection of the linked article, it looks like snus is just snuff. Ariva is far from snuff (no expectoration required, for one thing). More info here.

Also, it appears to be spelled "Sweden," not "Sweeden". Dammit.

I'll get me coat.
posted by andnbsp at 1:53 PM on April 3, 2002


*****not entirely on topic*****

But after 13 years as a pack a day smoker and then some, I finally quit using Xyban/Wellbutrin. It was, quite simply, amazing. I tried the patch, pill, cold turkey and, well, smoking lots of other things. But nothing worked long term. I've been nearly 9 months nicotine free now.

And I still hate self-righteous non-smokers, BTW. Smokers, I may not be one of you anymore, but I'm with you.
posted by emptyage at 3:49 PM on April 3, 2002


Heh.

Intresting idea. Someone mentioned that it might be an anti-smoking conspiracy to get niccotine listed as a drug. On that tangent, if I were in charge of an anti-smoking conspiracy, I'd load the things up with niccotine, way more then you could put in a ciggarret. Get people addicted to those things and cigs just wouldn't do it anymore.

Oh, and the idocy is in starting to smoke
posted by delmoi at 6:58 PM on April 3, 2002


emptyage, what is Xyban/Wellbutrin commonly given for? My granddad quit after smoking for 60-70 years and trying all the patches, gums, pills, hypnosis, etc. but some pill got him off really easily, but i can't remember what it's normally prescribed for. And, thanks for being with us smokers, I know when i quit i'll feel the same way.
posted by Ufez Jones at 10:28 PM on April 3, 2002


Wellbutrin is an antidepressant; it boosts dopamine levels in the brain. When doctors discovered, quite by accident, that patients on Wellbutrin also happened to lose their nicotine cravings, the manufacturer sought (and got) FDA approval to market the drug as a helping-quitting-smoking-thing. So if you get a prescription because you're trying to quit smoking, you get Zyban; but if you get it because you're depressed, you get Wellbutrin. But it's only the name on the bottle (and the price) that's different -- even the pills themselves are identical.
posted by jjg at 11:25 PM on April 3, 2002


thanks, jjg. I don't think that's what my granddad used, b/c it was a pill for something totally unrelated, but that's definitely useful info. Am i guessing right that the Zyban is more expensive, since every "quit smoking" product is horribly overpriced?
posted by Ufez Jones at 11:53 PM on April 3, 2002


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