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A Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel has said it cannot reach a conclusion about the potential risks and benefits of dissolvable tobacco on public health. The panel said that while using the products instead of cigarettes could reduce health risks, they have the potential to increase the number of people who use tobacco products, the Associated Press reports.

In a report posted online this week, the FDA Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee noted that dissolvable tobacco products made by Star Scientific have been available for 10 years, but have had “extremely limited market penetration and no apparent overall impact on disease burden.”

The panel expressed its concern that dissolvable tobacco products with lower risks to health than cigarettes “might affect the public perception of all tobacco products, leading to increased use because of reduced concern about health risks of tobacco products generally.” The panel recommended surveillance on dissolvable tobacco and youth marketing approaches.

Critics of dissolvable tobacco say they look like candy and are designed to appeal to teens.

The FDA panel discussed a range of issues including accidental poisoning from dissolvable tobacco, the effects of product packaging, marketing practices, youth perception of the products, and the behavioral, toxicological and physiological effects of dissolvable tobacco.

These flavored sticks, strips or orbs are designed to allow people to use nicotine in places where smoking is not allowed. Among the products are Camel Orbs, Strips and Sticks, as well as Ariva and Stonewall.

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