Drinking up instead of lighting up
(CNN) --If the executives at QuickTest5 have their way, smokers will soon be reaching for nictoine-spiked bottled water when they find themselves in smoke-free environments like airports, restaurants -- even their offices.
Nico Water, like nicotine gum, comes with 2 or 4 milligrams of nicotine. But unlike the gum, Nico Water is marketed as a supplement -- not a replacement.
Novel, yes. Benign? No, says Danny Goldrick of the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids. "It should be regulated. It has a highly addictive drug in it. And it's intended to help smokers treat nicotine addiction."
But according to QuickTest5 CEO, Steve Reder, the company goes to great lengths to make sure the product is used safely -- and by those over the age of 18.
"We are a firm believer of the 'we card' system," says Reder. "We expect everybody to be carded at 18. Our bottles are packaged as 18 years and older product. Our bottles are tamper-proof. They are sold in two-pack and four-pack configurations. We are very very cautious about this bottle and who is going to drink this."
Nico Water's concept plays into a new school of thought among some researchers. The theory is that some smokers just can't quit. But an alternative nicotine source may reduce smoking rates for those who can't quit altogether.
The FDA currently has smoking cessation products under the microscope. Last month the agency issued a warning letter to pharmacies selling nicotine lollipops and lip balm online. The warnings cite the fact the products are sold without a doctor's prescription; contain an unapproved form of nicotine; and can be used by children.
Nonetheless, Nico Water may soon be in a drugstore or convenience store near you. Its maker hopes to have it on store shelves in July.