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  • 04.28.10

Beyond Camel Orbs: The Sweet Tradition of Drug-Themed Candy

In a study by the Harvard School of Public Health published Monday, researchers examined child poisonings related to the ingestion of “novel smokeless tobacco products” such as Camel Orbs, highly-addictive mint- or cinnamon-flavored candies made of ground tobacco and filled with nicotine.

In a study by the Harvard School of Public Health published Monday, researchers examined child poisonings related to the ingestion of “novel smokeless tobacco products” such as Camel Orbs, highly-addictive mint- or cinnamon-flavored candies made of ground tobacco and filled with nicotine. The study, along with many critics, point out that the Orbs resemble Tic Tacs, and some suggest the novelty (along with the nicotine) are a method to attract (and addict) “a new generation of smokers to replace those who die.”

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Of course, this is not the first time critics have alleged that the cigarette industry is targeting children. In 1991, the Journal of the American Medical Association discovered that more kids could recognize Joe Camel than they could Mickey Mouse, sparking several lawsuits over the iconic cigarette ad-campaign. But perhaps more dangerous (or at least less controversial) than Joe Camel are drug- and tobacco-themed products like Camel Orbs, which often seep into pop-culture and help create the aura of “cool” that perhaps lures children into hard-to-kick habits later in life. Companies more and more are marketing and packaging their goods in this fashion. Here we present a short history of these products–are you addicted to any?

About the author

Austin Carr writes about design and technology for Fast Company magazine.

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