7 children taken to hospital after ingesting Nicorette at Fort Lauderdale school

Children had been competing to see who could eat most of nicotine-laced lozenges

By Todd Tongen - Anchor/Reporter, Peter Burke - Local10.com Managing Editor

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Seven children at a Fort Lauderdale private school have been hospitalized after ingesting Nicorette, Fort Lauderdale Fire-Rescue Battalion Chief Stephen Gollan said Friday.

The children were rushed from the Jacklyn Academy Private School on Southwest 27th Avenue and taken to Broward Health Medical Center.

Local 10 News reporter Todd Tongen said one of the students brought the nicotine-laced lozenges from home.

The children, who were between the ages of 9 and 12, knew the lozenges had nicotine in them and were competing to see who could eat the most, Tongen said. One child downed 10 pieces.

"Vomiting, irregular heart beat, increased blood pressure -- sometimes can cause seizures in high doses," emergency room pediatrician Dr. Hector Ortiz said. "I think these children are going to do well."

One of the children who got sick told Tongen he thought the medication was candy. 

"We thought it was candy and he gave me two of them, and then I had put it in my mouth. I was holding it, then I spit it out and then my stomach started and I was shaking and I threw up," Jaheim Moore said. 

Moore told his father his friend didn't get the lozenges from home.

"He is saying he bought it from a store," Jaheim's father, Edward Moore, said. "He bought it from a store and I don't see why the store sold him that nicotine medicine."

Nicorette is a nicotine replacement product commonly used by smokers to help them quit.

"Medications, they have to be kept in a place where (children) cannot reach them, because all of these medications could be dangerous," Ortiz said.

All seven children had to remain under observation for six hours, but were expected to be OK.

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