The FDA Plans To Drastically Reduce The Amount Of Nicotine In Cigarettes

FDA unveils new tobacco regulation that would drive down cigarettes' addictive power

The 2009 Tobacco Control Act gave the FDA the power to regulate tobacco, though not to ban it.

While it's not yet clear exactly how much nicotine will be cut from the products, a new notice-it's expected to be published on Friday-states that the agency "is considering developing a proposed product standard to make cigarettes minimally addictive or nonaddictive by setting a maximum nicotine level".

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb invited the public to weigh in on details of the proposed regulation, including the correct amount of nicotine, what risks the new policy could pose and how fast it's rolled out. That FDA-funded analysis found that slashing nicotine levels could push the smoking rate down to 1.4 percent from the current 15 percent of adults.

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. Smoking also costs the country $300 billion a year in direct health care and lost productivity, Gottlieb said.

The evaluation was based on reducing nicotine levels to 0.4 milligrams per gram of tobacco filler, FDA officials told reporters during a teleconference.

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The FDA will conduct a comprehensive review of the scientific evidence involving nicotine's role in cigarette addiction and seek input from the public. This could result in more than eight million fewer tobacco-related deaths.

Dr Susan Turnbull, Jersey's Medical Officer of Health, said: 'Like many doctors I have had reservations about e-cigarettes since they came on the scene, knowing that it can take many years, or even decades, for the health consequences of something new like this to become apparent. Would smokers compensate for the loss of nicotine by smoking more cigarettes?

The FDA plans to file two more rule-making notices - on one the impact of flavored tobacco, including menthol, and one on premium cigars.

"Our plan demonstrates a greater awareness that nicotine, while highly addictive, is delivered through products on a continuum of risk", Gottlieb said in a statement.

"It is critical that the FDA move as quickly as possible to turn this plan into reality", said Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

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