The following is excerpted from an online article posted by MedicalXpress.
Flavored oral nicotine products, which contain no tobacco but are not FDA-approved to help people quit smoking, are increasingly marketed and sold in the U.S., but researchers have never measured their use among U.S. teens.
In a new study published in the journal Pediatrics, researchers from the Keck School of Medicine of USC surveyed more than 3,500 Southern California teens about the nicotine products they use. The new flavored oral nicotine products ranked second: 3.4% of teens had used them at least once, while 1.7% had used them in the past six months. E-cigarettes, also known as vapes, were the most popular nicotine product, with 9.6% of teens having used them at least once and 5.5% of teens having used them in the past six months. Cigarettes, cigars, hookah, and other products were less popular.
“Surprisingly, these new flavored oral nicotine products were the second most commonly used product among our sample, second only to e-cigarettes,” said the study’s lead author, Alyssa F. Harlow, Ph.D., MPH, a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Population and Public Health Sciences at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
“Our findings are concerning because these products often have a high nicotine content, which we know is harmful to teens, and they’re really easy to hide and conceal. They also come in sweet flavors that may appeal to teens,” such as “cherry bomb” and “fruit medley,” Harlow said.
The research team collected data in 2021 as part of an ongoing behavioral health study of Southern California teens. Participants included 3,516 ninth and 10th graders from 11 high schools across Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange, and Imperial counties.
After e-cigarettes, non-tobacco flavored oral nicotine products (gum, lozenges, tablets, and gummies) were the most commonly used product.