A boy of 14 collapsed after chewing 45 sticks of nicotine gum - equivalent to 180 Marlboro Light cigarettes - in just 25 minutes.D’oh!
Aiden Williams overdosed on the Nicorette gum, designed to help smokers quit the habit, after it was handed out by counsellors at his school.
Aiden chewed his way through 45 sticks - a total of 90mg - meaning he had the equivalent of 180 Marlboro Lights in just 25 minutes.He’s 14, not 4. If he ‘can’t be given responsibility for medication’ at 14, when can he..?
His mother Caroline Williams said today: ‘I couldn’t believe that this gum can be given out like this without parents knowing. It is then being passed around the playground.
‘The doctors said that he could have died and he had to be kept in for 24 hours for observation.
‘I know what my son did was stupid, but if anything it proves that these kids can’t be given responsibility for taking medication that could do serious harm.’
The school is understandably caught between a rock and a hard place – continue the government-mandated anti-smoking work, or err on the side of health and safety, risk assessments and getting sued.
The government wins out:
Paul Harris, deputy head at Menzies School, said: ‘We have older teens in school who have issues with smoking and work directly with Decca, which offers support.In other words, ‘If your idiot kids kill themselves with it, we’ll live with that. But OFSTED might give us a bad report if we turf DECCA out on their ear, and that would be a tragedy’…
‘This is low-strength nicotine gum and there is nothing stopping youngsters from the age of 12 buying it over the counter.
‘Decca does not have to inform pupils’ parents about this.’
DECCA are pretty unrepentant too:
DECCA Service manager Margaret Storrie defended the council's policy of handing out Nicorette gum to children without telling parents.Well, yes, I’m sure he was. But expecting teenage boys to treat with caution anything they’ve been handed by an adult, whether condoms or nicotine gum, is pretty much expecting them to sprout wings and fly, isn’t it?
She said: 'DECCA is a confidential service engaging with young people and we do offer nicotine replacement gum to help young smokers quit.
'We always encourage young people to speak to their parents and we often organise meetings with family members so young people get the support they need.
'Aiden overdosing on gum like this is the first time such an incident has happened and we are disappointed to hear about it.
'Aiden's friend who was originally given the gum would have been told very clearly how often to use it by the worker who gave it to him.
This incident is the perfect storm – ‘risk-free’ teenagers meet dogmatic health service policy in a ‘parents have no rights’ school culture. Hilarity ensues.
Mrs Williams, you raised a moron. Mr Harris, you are employing morons. Ms Storrie, you too are employing morons.
When, oh when, will someone invent an anti-moron gum?