FDA Announces Plans To Cut Nicotine Levels In Cigarettes

FDA Announces Plans To Cut Nicotine Levels In Cigarettes

FDA Announces Plans To Cut Nicotine Levels In Cigarettes

The Food and Drug Administration is pushing ahead with a plan to make cigarettes less addictive, a move that threatens to upend the tobacco industry and accelerate a shift toward new smoking technology.

"We see a historic opportunity here to use that product standard to potentially more rapidly migrate smokers off of combustible cigarettes, that we know cause a lot of death and disease related to tobacco use, and potentially onto products that can provide adults with access to nicotine without all the harms associated with combustion", FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said during a media briefing. The FDA is seeking outside comment on a number of issues, including what nicotine levels should be permitted and whether the change should be implemented gradually or all at once.

Federal health officials took the first step Thursday to slash levels of addictive nicotine in cigarettes, an unprecedented move created to help smokers quit and prevent future generations from getting hooked.

In addition, the FDA plans to issue a series of foundational rules and guidance documents that will delineate key requirements of the regulatory process, such as the demonstration of substantial equivalence and the submission of applications for new tobacco products.

Each day, more than 3,800 youth younger than 18 years old smoke their first cigarette.

There is growing scientific evidence that limiting nicotine in cigarettes to minimally or non-addictive levels can help more smokers quit and prevent kids from becoming addicted.

The FDA first announced its intent to regulate nicotine levels in 2009, but the formal notice, published on Thursday, marks the first real action the agency has been able to take after spending years hamstrung by Big Tobacco's legal challenges.

Donny said a lengthy regulatory process would be reasonable given the sweep of the FDA's initiative and the prospect of a rapid reduction in smokers' exposure to nicotine.

Perhaps for that reason, the FDA's notice claims to round up the most recent relevant research, and also calls for public and expert comment on that information to help inform whatever rule it will ultimately implement.

One lung health expert applauded the move.

Altria Group Inc., the Henrico County-based parent company of top US cigarette maker Philip Morris USA, said Thursday that the FDA's action 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". More than 16 million Americans live with a smoking-related disease. After that, Gottlieb said, "we're not going to prejudge how long this will take".

The Food and Drug Administration floated the proposal last summer, but provided new details in a government filing on the potential impact of drastically cutting nicotine from cigarettes, by as much as 80 percent.

Waxman spoke with the Los Angeles Times about the significance of the proposed regulations, how they might improve public health, and why he's not in favor of banning nicotine altogether.

But tobacco makers were forced to admit to deliberately making cigarettes more addictive in an ad campaign that is now running. This is a pivotal part of our overall public health approach.

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