By Tim Williams

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It’s the latest thing on the market being used to boost energy but some drug abuse experts are concerned about the impacts of caffeinated gum.

Tim Williams has more about the potential dangers.

As much caffeine as a very large cup of coffee but in the size of a small stick of gun. The latest trend in energy boosters comes with potential—both benefits and problems.

First, the upside.

“It’s going to give the user a feeling of exuberation, because it speeds up your heart rate and your blood pressure and gives you energy,” said substance abuse expert Mike Gimbel.

Now the downside.

“The chance for overdose, the chance for heart problems, strokes, high blood pressure is easier with all these new products,” Gimbel said.

Gimbel is calling for a Food and Drug Administration investigation into the newest group of caffeine-infused products. Some of them dissolve on your tongue; some are aerosol shots in your mouth.

He says packaging for mints and especially gum appear to be targeting children and the opportunity for abuse is great.

“That’s why the FDA is stepping in now and saying, `We’d better look at these products and how much caffeine they are putting in these products,'” Gimbel said.

The FDA is already investigating and has banned alcohol drinks with excessive caffeine.

Energy drinks are currently under scrutiny and these candy products could be next. Each are packed with about half a coffee cup’s worth of caffeine, or about 100 milligrams per strip or piece of gum.

“If we don’t read the ingredients and parents don’t read the ingredients, their kids are going to get a hold of some of these energy strips and think they’re candy and the next thing you know, they’re gonna end up in the hospital,” Gimbel said.

The Food and Drug Administration is just beginning its look into caffeine gum. Preliminary reports are expected soon.


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