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July 19, 2006

BehindTheMedspeak: Nic Lite — Lemon-Flavored Nicotine-Infused Water

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Alicia Ault wrote about Nic Lite, the latest in a series of nicotine-infused waters, in a story that appeared in yesterday's Washington Post Health section.

Short story shorter: Just as it did in 2002 with the first two such drinks, the FDA forced the manufacturer of Nic Lite to stop selling it, stating that the product is an untested drug rather than a dietary supplement as claimed by Nico Worldwide, the company which makes the water.

Here's the Post article.

    Smoke and Water

    The Complaint: Two consumer groups -- the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and Public Citizen's Health Research Group -- have asked the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to stop online sales of Nic Lite, a lemon-flavored, nicotine-infused water made by Nico Worldwide, a company based in Oxnard, Calif. Nicotine is an addictive chemical that makes tobacco habit-forming. In 2002 the FDA forced two other companies to stop selling their nicotine-laced waters after finding that the products were untested drugs, not dietary supplements, as claimed. Dietary supplements do not require safety and efficacy testing and are only loosely regulated by the FDA.

    The Product: Nic Lite is said to contain 2 milligrams of nicotine (about two cigarettes' worth). But its exact contents can't be confirmed, says Matt Barry, director of policy research for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, because the product has never gone through formal testing. Barry said he drank a bottle of Nic Lite that he ordered online and felt no effects -- ill or otherwise. But he argues that consumers "should have an assurance that they aren't going to get sick from it."

    Nico Worldwide CEO J. Robert Knight said Nic Lite is safe and effective in helping adult smokers cut back or quit. Knight called the water "an alternative method of delivering nicotine," ideal for smokers who can't get through a flight without lighting up.

    The Upshot: In a late June letter to Nico Worldwide, the FDA ruled that Nic Lite is not a dietary supplement, but an unapproved new drug that requires safety and effectiveness testing. Knight said the letter was a surprise to him because the company has a certificate from the FDA granting it the right to sell the product. The company's Washington-based attorney, Paul Hyman, said the matter is under negotiation. "We hope to work it out with the FDA," he said.

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Looks like you'll just have to get your fix the old-fashioned way.

Unless you're willing to head up to Canada.

July 19, 2006 at 02:01 PM | Permalink


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Comments

All I have to say is YUCK, YUCK, and more YUCK....Why not just suck your drink out of an ashtray?? But then if it doesn't have flavor? Then how do we know we aren't getting some nicotine in anything? I can't take it....no more...I think they should just stop making cigarettes?? They stink....they make you ill...they make YOU stink...who wants to kiss that?? No matter how much you shower or brush or floss a person still reeks of smoke. You would have to really love that person to actually want to get up close and personal with them if they smoke like a choochoo train...well I will leave that part alone for right now...lol ok..enough smoke talk...I feel ill already...lol

Posted by: Rhonda | Jul 20, 2006 8:19:50 AM

Apparently nicotine itself has no flavor. (Non-smoker here.) I always figured it tasted like smoke. Which makes me wonder -- why don't they just make smoke-flavored water for smokers? Or is that what scotch is? I tasted scotch once in college when I mostly drank wine or vodka, if I drank booze at all, which has never agreed with me, and it tasted exactly like a glass of tea that somebody dropped a cigarette butt into. I know because when I was about 8 I accidentally drank out of a glass of tea with a submerged cig butt in it -- it was my father's favorite kind of ashtray, I realized too late. So if people will actually drink smoke-flavored booze, why not smoke-flavored water, too? Or smoke-flavored Coke (they could call it SmoCoke), or ice cream, Jello, popsicles, shampoo (get a head-start on ashtray-hair), baby food, chicken soup, for that matter?

It makes me think of that wonderful scene in "Mister Roberts" when William Powell and Henry Fonda sat down and concocted a bottle of scotch for Jack Lemmon out of some cheap bourbon and whatever ingredients they could find on board ship (one of them was kerosene, I remember). A great moment.

Posted by: Flutist | Jul 20, 2006 2:24:32 AM

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