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Health: Caffeine Gum About To Hit The Market

By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Coffee, soda, energy drinks…millions of people turn to them for a quick energy jolt. 3 On Your Side Health Reporter Stephanie Stahl has more on a new product that's said to offer up the same kick without the liquid.

It may look little, but a new kind of gum is supposed to pack a big punch of energy.

"I guess I'd try it and see if it works," said Anne Chen, of Audubon.

"If it can give you some energy, that would be good," said John Earle.

It's Wrigley's new Alert Energy Caffeine Gum.

"It sounds great because I love caffeine a lot, and I'll get it any way I can," said Olivia Innerst, of Chestnut Hill.

Each piece has 40 milligrams of caffeine, more than what's in a 12 ounce can of Coke and equivalent to a half a cup of coffee.

It's supposed to taste bitter, like some other energy products. 3 On Your Side had people at Reading Terminal Market try it out.

"It's good, it's minty," said Elizabeth Kelly, of Souderton.

"It's delicious," agreed Olivia.

"I can tell it's not regular, but it's not a bad taste. I could get used to it," said Rasheed Johnakin, of Philadelphia.

But many doctors, like Daniel Hyman, the Chief of Internal Medicine at Cooper University Health Care, are concerned about people getting too much caffeine.

"People may not be aware that sodas, tea, iced tea, chocolate, all contain caffeine too," said Dr. Hyman.

He says too much caffeine can be dangerous for some. "People can get jittery. They can develop headaches. They can get palpitations, especially for people who are very sensitive. On the severe aspects, people can become manic, can develop arrhythmias," said Dr. Hyman.

A warning on the gum says people who chew it should moderate their daily caffeine intake, and it's not recommended for children or people who are sensitive to caffeine.

"Anyone who's had problems with arrhythmias, rapid heart rates, really should not use excessive amounts of caffeine, and this kind of product I would definitely not recommend," said Dr. Hyman.

The maker, Wrigley, tells CBS3 there is clear labeling about the caffeine so that consumers can make an informed decision. The caffeine gum will be on store shelves next month and will cost about three dollars for a pack of eight pieces.

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