by Danny Altman

I was elated to hear that tobacco now comes in candy form because I was a big fan of candy cigarettes when I was a kid.

Wintergreen-flavored Ariva is already available in some drug and convenience stores, but you may not want to try it just yet. It turns out that along with the nicotine, you get a free dose of toxic nitrosamines in each lozenge. The manufacturer, Star Scientific, says this will be fixed with a new formulation called Ariva-BDL. (“Below Detectable Limits.”)

The big question is, are they trying to get young people hooked on nicotine and what will the FDA have to say about it? New federal tobacco regulations require these products to be less harmful for individual smokers than cigarettes, but they also “have to benefit the health of the overall population.”

Of course the big tobacco companies are keeping a close eye on this mouth-watering marketing opportunity. Reynolds American has been test marketing Camel Orbs, nicotine mints that come in a colorful candy box. Personally, I’m waiting for nicotine lollipops. Lozenges just feel too grown up.

The name Ariva, is obviously derived from the Spanish “arriba, arriba!” which means “this is f-ing awesome!” Something is missing in the translation because the English version of the word just kind of sits there.  But these are equal opportunity folks. The company is not just targeting the Hispanic youth market. They are also going after their neo-Confederate compadres with a brand called Stonewall.

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