FDA seeks to lower nicotine in cigarettes

16 March, 2018, 01:14 | Author: Clint Gray
  • FDA planning to lower nicotine in cigarettes

Gottlieb said on Twitter this is a "historic first step".

The FDA is accepting public comments on the proposal.

Tobacco kills more than 480,000 Americans each year and costs $300 billion a year in health care.

Within five years, another eight million fewer people would smoke, and by 2060, the smoking rate in the United States could drop to 1.4 percent, down from its present level of 15 percent, said the report.

The FDA does not have the power to ban cigarettes or tobacco products, but was given some powers of regulation over them by Congress in 2009.

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Cutting nicotine to 0.5 milligram or less could help about 5 million adults smokers to quit within one year and prevent more than 33 million people from becoming regular smokers by the year 2100. While the agency hasn't decided how much it will slash nicotine levels, or when the regulation goes into effect, the goal is clear - make cigarettes less addictive.

"Our estimates underscore the tremendous opportunity to save so many lives if we come together and forge a new path forward to combat the overwhelming disease and death caused by cigarettes", FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement. "In order to successfully address cigarette addiction, we must make it possible for current adult smokers who still seek nicotine to get it from alternative and less harmful sources".

"As FDA has acknowledged, any proposed nicotine standard would need to be part of a comprehensive package", he added.

"Today's advance notice is a request for information, not a proposed rule, and is the first step in a multi-year process that will require the agency to examine and resolve many complex issues", said Murray Garnick, executive vice president and general counsel of Altria Group, Inc., which includes tobacco giant Philip Morris.

Myers urged the FDA to take additional aggressive actions, such as requiring large graphic health warnings that cover at least half of cigarette packs.

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"Should a product standard be implemented all at once or gradually?"

The results showed that, even after taking into account factors such as noise exposure at work, current smokers had a 1.2 increased risk of developing low-frequency hearing loss, and a 1.6 increased risk of high-frequency hearing loss, when compared with never smokers.

The FDA has sponsored several recent studies showing that when smokers switch to very low nicotine cigarettes they smoke less and are more likely to try quitting.

The speed with which the FDA acts depends heavily on "the political will of the administration", Sward said.

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