Students sickened at school

Students at Wendell Green Elementary School are escorted from the building after 16 students became ill. (Eric Clark, for the Tribune / February 20, 2013)

Sixteen children were taken to hospitals this morning after they ate nicotine lozenges they thought were candy at a Far South Side elementary school, according to authorities.

Sixteen 9- and 10-year-olds were taken to hospitals in good condition after ingesting NiQuitin Minis lozenges, according to the Chicago Fire department. Two other children were treated on the scene, the department said.

The incident happened at 10 a.m. at the Wendell Green Elementary School at 1150 W. 96th St., officials said. An Emergency Medical Plan I was called, which sends at least five ambulances to the scene.

Fourth grade students suffered nausea and upset stomachs after a student handed out the lozenges, which help smokers stop, said Police News Affairs Officer John Mirabelli.

“The children had taken them when they were distributed to the classroom,’’ Mirabelli said. "They thought they were candy.’’

chicagobreaking@tribune.com