Apr. 26, 2010

Ga. man who left jail for cigarettes gets 20 years

Authorities say an inmate who broke out of jail, then returned after stealing 14 packs of cigarettes, has been sentenced to 20 years.

Prosecutors told The Florida Times-Union inmate Harry Jackson, 26, escaped his cell at the Camden County Jail last year and went to the exercise yard to retrieve cigarettes he had expected would be tossed over a fence.

They say that when the contraband wasn't there, Jackson scaled the fence, broke a window at a convenience store and grabbed cigarette packs only to be arrested upon his return.

Jackson pleaded guilty to burglary and escape charges Monday. Prosecutors say he had been jailed on charges including driving with a suspended license. His lawyer, William Ashe, didn't immediately return a call seeking comment.

Apr. 20, 2010

Camel Orbs Tobacco Candies Are Toxic For Young Children

A new study finds that smokeless tobacco candy could be dangerous for children as it contains nicotine that can be addictive.

The candies are called Camel Orbs and each one contains a small amount of nicotine minus the nasty smoke present in cigarettes.

The products are dissolvable, and are designed for smokers looking for that nicotine fix when they are somewhere where smoking is not prohibited.

The candies come in childproof packs, but children have been known to find ways to open these packs and ingest the dangerous candies.

“Infants are susceptible to accidental tobacco ingestion because of a natural curiosity and a tendency for oral exploration,” wrote researcher Gregory N. Connolly, DMD, MPH, of Harvard University and colleagues in Pediatrics. “As taste discrimination develops, young children may be more attracted to flavored tobacco products. Ingestion of as little as 1 mg of nicotine by a small child can produce symptoms such as nausea and vomiting.”

“In light of the novelty and potential harm of these dissolvable nicotine products, federal and other public health authorities are advised to study these products to determine the appropriate regulatory approach, on the basis of their potential to cause poisonings and create addiction among youths,” the researchers write.

Apr. 15, 2010

Vote on electronic cigarettes ban postponed in Ill. House committee

Advocates of electronic cigarettes aren’t allowing their chosen alternative to tobacco to become contraband in Illinois quietly.

The Illinois Senate passed legislation that would prevent the sale of the battery-operated e-cigarettes with little attention last month. That changed this morning in a House committee to consider the legislation, SB3174.

The plastic cylinders often look like real cigarettes but dispense a vapor rather than smoke, along with a dose of nicotine.

Former smokers who use the products and retailers who supply them objected to an outright ban, suggesting that lawmakers should look at regulation of e-cigarettes first. Several former smokers said they tried every FDA-approved smoking cessation tool but still couldn’t quit the habit until finding the e-cigarettes.

State Rep. Constance Howard, D-Chicago, said she also was a former smoker and understood how difficult quitting could be.

“I just wish there was something like these around before my mother died,” she said, to applause from the assembled e-cigarette proponents.

Sponsoring state Rep. Marlow Colvin, D-Chicago, said the FDA hasn’t approved the products yet and have found examples of carcinogens and other chemicals in the cartridges. He and lobbyist Kathy Drea with the American Lung Association said the state should prevent people from buying the e-cigarettes until the FDA has ruled on their safety.

But at the request of committee members asking for more information on that process, Colvin postponed a decision on the bill until next week.