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Candy and tobacco share surprising chemicals

Lana Bandoim's picture
Candy dangerous chemicals

Researchers at Portland State University have discovered a disturbing connection between candy and flavored tobacco. The study appears in the New England Journal of Medicine and reveals that the products have similar chemicals. The artificial flavorings in multiple tobacco products are the same ones found in candy items such as Jolly Ranchers.

Kool-Aid and cigarettes share flavorings

The study points out that many flavored tobacco products have the same artificial flavors found in candy and drink mixes. Researchers use cherry Kool-Aid and wild cherry Cheyenne cigars as one example because they have similar chemicals that give users the taste of cherry. Scientists have essentially confirmed that flavored tobacco is relying on these artificial flavors to mimic candy.

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Tobacco manufacturers have been accused of deliberately using candy flavors to attract young people to their brands and keep them addicted to the products. Since the artificial flavors can hide the usual taste of some tobacco products, experts are concerned teenagers and children will use these products with greater frequency.

Candy flavored tobacco

From grape to cherry, flavored tobacco is similar to the candy you can find on store shelves, and it even resembles drink mixes such as Kool-Aid. It is not a coincidence that a bag of Jolly Rancher candy has the same artificial flavors as some cigars, and experts believe the manufacturers are copying candy products on purpose.

The CDC reports that “40 percent of middle and high schoolers” use flavored tobacco products, and this number is increasing. The popularity of these flavored items is not diminishing among youth while experts are becoming more concerned about them creating long-term habits that will be difficult to break. Flavored products are still addictive and contain nicotine, so the artificial candy taste does not have an impact on them. The CDC views this as a serious problem that needs to be addressed through better regulation.

Image: Mene Tekel/Wikimedia Commons