The Food and Drug Administration just took a major step toward helping future generations avoid cigarette addictions by proposing a new plan to lower the amount of nicotine in cigarettes.
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“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. “As part of our comprehensive plan on tobacco and nicotine regulation announced last summer, we’re issuing an advance notice of proposed rulemaking to explore a product standard to lower nicotine in cigarettes to minimally or non-addictive levels.”
Since the FDA doesn’t have the power to completely ban tobacco products from the market, they’ve settled for enforcing certain limitations on the standard of what’s sold, which could result in a major reformulation of tobacco products.
“Given their combination of toxicity, addictiveness, prevalence, and effect on non-users, it’s clear that to maximize the possible public health benefits of our regulation, we must focus our efforts on the death and disease caused by addiction to combustible cigarettes,” he said.
Today #FDA took a historic first step to advance our rulemaking process to render combustible cigarettes minimally or non addictive through regulation of nicotine levels under the FDA’s tobacco product standard https://t.co/Wqs8XH0boX
— Scott Gottlieb, M.D. (@SGottliebFDA) March 15, 2018
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.”
Considering how high the smoking-induced death rate is, anti-tobacco supporters are predictably thrilled over the FDA’s latest announcement. After all, if the plan is actually fulfilled, this new proposal could be a major financial blow to the entire tobacco industry.