FDA seeks to lower nicotine in cigarettes

Posted March 16, 2018

Lowering nicotine levels would be its hardest move yet against Big Tobacco, which was recently forced to admit in ads that they made cigarettes more addictive in order to generate more sales.

Congress gave the FDA the power to regulate - but not ban - tobacco in 2009.

'However, I do welcome and support this new consensus statement as a balanced and measured summary of what is known and can be said about where e-cigarettes appear to be positioned in terms of relative health risks to smokers, when compared with conventional smoking.

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Smoking rates have declined from almost 21 percent in 2005 to 15.5 percent in 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Despite years of aggressive efforts to tackle the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States, tobacco use-largely cigarette smoking-still kills more than 480,000 Americans every single year", FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement.

Matthew Myers, president of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, warned of the dangers of taking it too slow.

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"As we explore this novel approach to reducing the death and disease from combustible cigarettes, it's critical that our policies reflect the latest science and is informed by the input we receive from our meetings with stakeholders, comments to the open public docket and future opportunities for comment", he said.
Would limits on nicotine foster the growth of a black market in high-nicotine cigarettes? Those alternative nicotine-delivery products include e-cigarettes or nicotine replacement therapies. Smoking also costs the country $300 billion a year in direct health care and lost productivity, Gottlieb said.

Many adults try to quit smoking each year but fail because nicotine is such an addictive substance, said Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products.

The FDA also said Thursday that it plans to soon issue two other advance notices: One on the role that flavors, including menthol, play in the use and cessation of use of tobacco products; and the other on the regulation of premium cigars.

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