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US: FDA bans nicotine water products

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It may have been marketed as a "refreshing break to the smoking habit," but the Food and Drug Administration ruled this week that Nicotine water is illegal.

The ruling has put stop to plans by California-based QT5 Inc to begin selling bottles later this month of its brand NicoWater.

QT5 said it believed that its water met the definition of a dietary supplement but couldn't immediately say if it would challenge the FDA's ruling, spokesman Ed Haisha said.

The FDA had already ordered nicotine-laced lollipops and lip balm off the market last April, calling them unapproved drugs that had enough nicotine to endanger children lured by the candy resemblance.  The move therefore is not wholly unexpected.

But NicoWater blurred the lines somewhat because it was promoted as a dietary supplement, and the FDA isn't allowed to regulate supplements nearly as strictly as it does medications.

However, nicotine is legally sold over the counter in FDA- approved smoking cessation aids, federal law prohibits it also being sold as a dietary supplement, FDA lawyers concluded Tuesday.

There were fears from anti-smoking activists that allowing nicotine-laced water would have set a dangerous precedent, perhaps by encouraging nicotine to be added to lots of products, including ones children use.

"The FDA decision is important because it recognizes nicotine as a powerful drug that needs to be regulated," said Matthew Myers of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and co-author of a petition filed with the FDA against the products.

But QT5 said NicoWater was never intended as a smoking cessation aid but as a boost for smokers when they can't light up.


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