FDA Lowers Nicotine Content of Cigarettes to Non-Addictive Levels

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Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed to reduce the nicotine content of cigarettes due to harmful side effects caused by cigarette smoking

U.S. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb MD announced an advanced notice of proposed rule making as part of the government’s comprehensive tobacco regulatory plan. According to FDA, cigarette smoking still kills more than 480,000 Americans annually. The proposal on ‘Tobacco Product Standard for Nicotine Level of Combusted Cigarettes’ aims to reduce nicotine in cigarettes to minimally or non-addictive levels. The initiative taken by FDA aims to avoid millions of tobacco-related deaths worldwide.

The study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, limits the content of tobacco to 0.4 milligrams in every gram of tobacco, which is 97% lower than the current nicotine levels in conventional cigarettes. Given their combination of toxicity, addictiveness, prevalence and effect on non-users, it’s clear that to maximize the possible public health benefits of our regulation, we must focus our efforts on the death and disease caused by addiction to combustible cigarettes,” said Gottlieb. “Dependence is not magically gone in six weeks,” said Eric Donny, director of the Center for the Evaluation of Nicotine in Cigarettes at the University of Pittsburgh and a co-author on that study. “But it’s certainly reduced, and we would predict (less dependence) would enable more quitting.” He recommended that regulators should consider lowering nicotine by 95% to 97% per cigarette to observe effect.

According to a study, majority of cigarette smokers in the U.S. started smoking during teenage, which increases the risk of tobacco-related diseases and death. According to the Centers on Disease Control and Prevention, tobacco use is the primary cause of preventable disease, disability, and death in the country. This initiative aims to lower population addicted to smoking to 1.4% from the current level of 15%. The new FDA notice will be published in the Federal Register in March 2018.

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