7 children ill after chewing nicotine gum at Fort Lauderdale private school

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Seven children were taken to the hospital after chewing nicotine gum at a Fort Lauderdale private school.

Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue responded to the scene at Jacklyn Academy, Friday morning.

The children were taken to Broward Health Medical Center.

Fire Rescue said the children, ranging between the ages of 6 and 12, ate 4 mg Nicorette lozenges as a part of a game to see who could eat most of the tablets. One child ingested around 10 pieces.

“Our units responded out. Upon arrival, we were told by staff here at the facility that there were seven children that had ingested the substance,” FLFR Battalion Chief Stephen Gollan said. “All patients were within normal limits on their vitals.”

Shortly after eating the gum, the kids began complaining of nausea and light-headedness.

“Seven children that were brought here to the emergency department because they took nicotine gum,” said Dr. Hector Ortiz, with Broward Medical Center. “Basically, apparently, one of the children took the pills to school, and he wanted to share with everybody else. They tried to compete how many they could take, so all the kids are basically stable. One of them is a little more symptomatic than others, but I think they’re gonna do well.”

One of the children released this afternoon spoke with the media to sharing his side of the story.

“The boy had brought some type of candy, and we thought it was candy, and then he gave me two of them,” said Jaheim Moore, “and then he gave me two of them, and then I had put it in my mouth. I just hold it, then I spit it out.”

Moore said the lozenges were brought by another child who purchased it at a store. Shortly after ingesting the pills, the students began experiencing various symptoms.

“My stomach started hurting, I was shaking and then I threw up,” Moore said.

“Nicotine gum can produce vomiting, irregular heartbeat, decrease of the blood pressure [and] sometimes can produce seizures in high doses,” Ortiz said.

The child that took 10 lozenges experienced irregular heartbeat but was in stable condition.

Moore’s father said he wasn’t upset with his son’s actions but more so at the store that sold the lozenges to a child.

“There’s an accident. You know, kids gonna be kids,” Edward Moore said. “They got the candy. They could’ve gotten the candy from anywhere. The store wasn’t supposed to sell any nicotine to those kids, but that’s what he said. We really don’t know what happened.”

Officials said all of the children are expected to be OK.

When asked what the adults were doing while the children were eating the gum, the school had no comment.

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