Some types of smokeless tobacco are being packaged and sold more like candy than other tobacco products. The Morrison County Public Health department is checking out how the smoking products are being displayed in area tobacco businesses. “We are going into shops to see which of these tobacco products they are stocking, how they are promoted and where they are being displayed,” argued Sheila Funk, community health educator working with Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP). “This is done in a very friendly way; it’s not a pliability check.
The smokeless tobacco is also flavored like candy and packed more like a candy than chewing tobacco products.
“It’s in too small of a pack and tobacco consumers can easily confuse it for candy,” Funk explained. “The tablets are about the same size as a Tic Tac. One tablet has the nicotine content of an average cigarette. As few as two to three tablets in a three-year-old can be deadly.”
The Public Health Department has received funds from a community transformation grant for smoking-free living. The funds will be provided through 2016.
“It’s nice to see multi-year strategies in these grants,” argued County Administrator Deb Gruber. “That gives time to see results.”
These smoking products are supposed to be displayed on upper shelves so there is less chance they would be confused for candy.
“We’re interested about young adults purchasing these items and having them around the house near kids,” Funk reported. “We just want inhabitants to be informed.”