Candy or tobacco: can you tell the difference?

The Mesa County Health Department is warning parents to be on the lookout for tobacco products that may look like gum, candy or mints.

Kristy Emerson, Director of Health Promotions at Mesa County Health Department, says dissolvable tobacco products are causing concern because of the similarities in their packaging, with packaging of edible items.

"They are in bright packaging and look like candy," Emerson says. "They're in containers that are very easy to conceal so parents may not by able to find them, and that's concerning to us."

Several parents say they have a hard time deciphering on first glance which is tobacco, and which is candy.

"The bright coloring really makes it look like candy because kids can't read sometimes, maybe they're not even trying to read the package and labels, and they're just looking at it," says Dawn Carter, mother of two. "This packaging all seems too sweet for something so adult."

Parents like Kari Hall are concerned about their child coming across the product and consuming it, since her daughter is too young to read.

"I think that if you're going to sell tobacco products, you need to make them look like tobacco products so kids won't be interested in them," Hall says.

Emerson suggests talking to kids about peer pressure and the dangers associated with tobacco of any kind. She says dissolvable tobacco can contain more nicotine than other products, and has the potential to poison children, making it essential for parents to be on the watch for it.

"Check their backpacks, check their rooms, you really want to look at the product," Emerson says. "If they have something in their pocket that they're not willing to show you, it might instead of tic-tacs, be one of these new dissolvable tobacco products."

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