FDA proposes cutting nicotine amounts in cigarettes

Saturday, 29 Jul, 2017

"The FDA plans to begin a public dialogue about lowering nicotine levels in combustible cigarettes to nonaddictive levels through achievable product standards", the agency said in the announcement. Public servants safeguarding public health: What a nice notion.

If successful, the effort would be the first time the government has tried to get the Americans to quit cigarettes by reaching beyond warning labels or taxes to attacking the actual addictive substance inside. Specifically, it postponed the requirement that such products be approved by the agency. According to the body, more than 480,000 deaths in the U.S. are caused by tobacco every year. "Absolutely, it's a good thing", said Ray Story, the chief executive and founder of the organization.

The FDA announces a new approach to regulating the amount of nicotine in tobacco cigarettes.

"I have real concerns about kids use of e-cigarettes and I know many others share those concerns, especially for those products marketed with obviously kid-appealing flavors", he said.

Patricia Folan, director of Northwell Health's Center for Tobacco Control in Great Neck, N.Y., applauded the FDA's attention to teen smoking. Although it is the nicotine that hooks the smoker, it is the other chemical compounds in tobacco and tobacco smoke that pose direct health hazards. Kelly says vaping still has nicotine, but in ways, it can be less harmful. I can have a lower dosage, ' " said Davis. In addition to the devastating human toll caused mainly by cigarette smoking, tobacco also causes substantial financial costs to society, with direct health care and lost productivity costs totaling almost $300 billion a year. And so by offering smokers an alternative that is less risky, maybe electronic cigarettes, that they would be less likely to create this black market for high-nicotine cigarettes. Research has shown that when the cut is that dramatic, smokers do not generally compensate by smoking more.

Kenneth Warner, a retired University of MI public health professor who is a leading authority on smoking and health, said he was pleasantly surprised to learn of the FDA announcement. "We have long recognised in this country that it's not the nicotine but the smoke in cigarettes which makes them so deadly", she said. "It's a sound idea and if done the right way could have a huge effect", he said. It will also not affect future deadlines for other provisions of the deeming rule.

But the agency wants to pull back regulations to have new tobacco products that entered the market after February 15, 2007-which includes most e-cigarettes-submit to rigorous review.

"The Lung Association is concerned", said Erika Sward, the association's vice president for national advocacy.

He was also highly skeptical of the FDA plan to seek input on the proposed reduction of combustible cigarette nicotine levels through an ANPRM. Like, if they reduce it by this amount now, what's to say they wouldn't reduce it by another amount later?