June 22, 2018

FDA Takes 'Pivotal Step' in Plan to Make Cigarettes Less Addictive

16 March 2018, 01:59 | Leigh Flowers

FDA to Lower Nicotine in Cigarettes


United States regulators Thursday opened the door to slashing the amount of nicotine in cigarettes in order to make them less addictive, a move that could mean millions fewer smokers in the years to come.

"It is critical that the FDA move as quickly as possible to turn this plan into reality".

Smoking rates have declined from almost 21 percent in 2005 to 15.5 percent in 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Cigarette-related illnesses account for almost half a million deaths in the US annually, a figure that Gottlieb hopes to curb by placing new sanctions on the manufacturing of tobacco.

"Tobacco use also costs almost $300 billion a year in direct health care and lost productivity".

"In fact, cigarettes are the only legal consumer product that, when used as intended, will kill half of all long-term users", he said.

The FDA didn't give a sense of how long the regulatory process will ultimately take.

The FDA will conduct a comprehensive review of the scientific evidence involving nicotine's role in cigarette addiction and seek input from the public.

An analysis evaluating one possible nicotine product standard included in the notice and also being published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggested that if implemented, approximately 5 million more adults may quit smoking after 1 year and 33 million individuals, mainly youth and young adults, would avoid becoming regular smokers by 2100, according to the statement.

"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.

Principle investigator Samir Soneji from the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice said that e-cigarettes smoking encourages cigarette smoking beginning and can lead to substantial harm to teens and young adults once they are introduced to nicotine.

Gottlieb has announced that he will explore "a product standard" in order to lower nicotine levels below what is necessary to become dependent on the highly-addictive stimulant.

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