January 08, 2004

No, no, no! Legislators, Stop That! Rite-Aid, Restock Your Shelves!

    PORTLAND, Maine - Bottles of nicotine-laced water were pulled from the shelves of Rite Aid drug stores in Maine as legislators considered whether to ban the product.
No! Quit it. Yahoo! has the scoop.
    A Rite Aid spokeswoman said the company removed bottles of NicoWater for sale in its 80 Maine stores Wednesday night, shortly after a legislative health committee voted 6-5 for a measure to outlaw the product until it's approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (news - web sites).

    The bill would need full Senate and House approval to become law.

    Jody Cook, a spokeswoman for Rite Aid, said the company decided to stop selling the product in Maine because it wanted to be a good corporate citizen. Rite Aid, based in Camp Hill, Pa., has 3,400 stores nationwide.
So, Jody, you're going to pull cigarettes from your shelves, you good corporate citizen, right?

    State Sen. John Martin took aim at NicoWater last spring when he saw ads touting the product as a cigarette substitute for people who have nicotine cravings in non-smoking environments.

    The product is sold in four-packs of half-liter bottles, each of which has 4 mg of nicotine, an amount equal to that in two cigarettes. Martin said NicoWater poses a threat, especially to children, and carries no health benefits.
No health benefits? You're a fool, Martin. It's WATER. And if it stops a smoker from smoking and gives him or her the fix, of COURSE there's a health benefit. Oh, but we're doing this for the "children," aren't we? It threatens them so. Tomorrow "it" will be a single Kit-Kat.

Free NicoWater (but I'll stick with Ice Mountain, thanks).


Posted by hln at January 8, 2004 10:40 PM | Health | TrackBack

If nicotine were a new chemical being released, I bet there'd be an uproar of people who didn't want this highly toxic chemical used. It certainly wouldn't make it as a food additive.

4 mg of nicotine could definitely poison a kid (it'd probably make a non-smoking adult feel pretty ill), and I can see some dolt handing a bottle of Nicowater to the whiny toddler asking for a dwink.

I'm also suspicious of QT5's efforts to circumvent the FDA regulations, but of course drug regulation pays my rent.

Posted by: nic at January 9, 2004 07:17 AM

Heather, I have to agree with Nic. I was shocked when I heard of this, knowing nicotine is used as a pesticide in some places. I googled "nicotine patch children" and found reports of children showing symptoms of nicotine exposure from used patches (no deaths, though), and this nicotine poisoning fact sheet from the Oklahoma College of Pharmacy.

About two years ago, I accidentaly drank some water that had some bleach in it. I was cleaning out an old cycling water bottle, and...well, it was an *accident*. NicoWater is, when you get down to it, water with poison in it, and it seems it would be a pretty easy for a child to get ahold of a nice, fresh unopened bottle of this poisoned "water" and make themselves seriously ill. It's almost as if the cure is worse than the disease.

OTOH, they should stop selling cigarettes, too. You're right on that account.

Posted by: Victor at January 9, 2004 08:25 AM

And alcohol? How is this different?

So slap an age on it - I don't care.

(And I think I'll stick to vinegar and soap with my cycling bottles. Have you tried vinegar - does that work?)


Posted by: hln at January 9, 2004 08:33 AM

I'm with you, Heather. The issue here is whether or not people should be allowed to make this decision for themselves. We're all informed about what nicotine is and the effects it has on your body and that of children.

Responsible parents won't let their children drink this water any more than they would allow them to smoke cigarettes.

Ultimately, the question is who has the right and responsibility to take care of you and your children: You or Uncle Sam?

Posted by: Trey Givens at January 9, 2004 09:13 AM

Reading that makes me want to buy a couple 4-packs strictly out of spite.

Posted by: Harvey at January 9, 2004 09:58 AM

My problem with it is that the manufacturer has managed to skirt the regulations that apply to nicotine gum and patches...that's how it is different from alcohol, which is highly controlled.

Personal responsibility and public health are often at odds, I think. In this case there are people who are too stupid, too gullible, or too unsophisticated to understand that something labeled as a homeopathic cigarette substitute is dilluted poison. If they had to request the water from a pharmacist it'd be different.

Posted by: Nic at January 9, 2004 10:05 AM

You have something there, nic. It is dilluted poison and a cigarette substitute. But the cigarettes aren't at the pharmacy. And the patches and other things are there to help people stop smoking. I'm not sure that's the aim of this NicoWater. I think it's just a way to get another fix. And I really have no issue with people getting a fix so long as it doesn't pollute my air (which is the huge issue I have with cigarettes).

So, regulate it. I don't much care. It's usually one or two catalyst statements that will get me to blog something. For this one, here they are:

"The product is sold in four-packs of half-liter bottles, each of which has 4 mg of nicotine, an amount equal to that in two cigarettes. Martin said NicoWater poses a threat, especially to children, and carries no health benefits."


Posted by: hln at January 9, 2004 10:20 AM

Ah. You are right, of course, that somebody drinking nicotine is, at least, not hurting those around him with the second-hand smoke. (Oh no...public health vs. public health. Nic's brain is going to short-circuit like one of Harvey Mudd's android wives!)

Posted by: Nic at January 9, 2004 11:11 AM

It should be my decision as to how I wish to poison myself. I agree that the company should take the proper steps to ensure a legal product, but as for every one complaining aout kids getting a hold of this product, you are missing the big picture. A responsible parent would ensure that their child would not have access to the product the same as they would not have access to the liquor cabinet or cigarettes. People who do not smoke and complain about this product do are out of line. I am a smoker, and I would like to experiment with an alternative to the noxious smoke that is killing my lungs and the lungs of people around me. If I am addicted to nicotine, that's my problem, and drinking a glass of water to get my fix is healthier for the people around me, and better for my lungs. After all it's my addiction that I am responsible for finding healthy ways to deal with. Go ahead and regulate the product, require an ID etc etc, I'm all for it, but don't preach to people about "diluted poison". I think someone who smokes a pack a day knows a little about feeling poisoned, and I think it shows a healthy concern for those who wish to cut the smoke, even if it's for another form of the "poison".

Posted by: Roy at March 31, 2004 08:02 AM