Published: Sat, July 29, 2017
Medical | By Rita Mcdonald

FDA announces plans to slash nicotine levels in cigarettes

FDA announces plans to slash nicotine levels in cigarettes

The FDA also announced plans to issue new regulations for products like cigars, pipe tobacco, and e-cigarettes.

The agency cannot reduce nicotine levels to zero, nor can it ban cigarettes, but Gottlieb said the FDA would study regulating nicotine levels in an attempt to make cigarettes less addictive.

Stock market shares of tobacco plummeted after the plan was announced.

"Nicotine itself is not responsible for the cancer, the lung disease and heart disease that kill hundreds of thousands of Americans each year", he said.

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According to the release, the agency wants to have an adequate regulatory and scientific base to productively carry out the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, the 2009 law that gave the FDA the power to govern the distribution, marketing and manufacturing of such products.

Manufactures of newly regulated combustible products, including cigars, pipe tobacco and hookah tobacco will have until August 8, 2021 to submit applications for market approval.

It would be the first time in the agency's history that it has sought to regulate the amount of nicotine in cigarettes. "It's taken a little while, but it seems the FDA is beginning to realize something the scientific community woke up to years ago: policies aimed at destroying the e-cigarette market actually would result in the unintended outcome of more smokers sticking with traditional combustible cigarettes".

The policy will also apply to e-cigarettes, which are also known as tobacco vaporisers.

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The FDA also said it will take a look at menthol cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products created to appeal to youth, and the health impacts of smoking premium cigars.

"Although the announcement's timing was unexpected this morning, we've longed believed the FDA taking a more comprehensive approach toward nicotine was a natural next step", Herzog said.

Until now, USA health officials have stuck with an abstinence-only message to the public. However, the tobacco industry is already experiencing the blow on the stock market. Health care and lost productivity costs come in at almost $300 billion annually, according to the FDA.

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