FDA Plans To Make Cigarettes Less Addictive
- Author: Ismael Montgomery Mar 16, 2018,
Mar 16, 2018, 0:45
"It would be the most significant public health proposal we have seen from the USA government in the last 20 years", Myers said.
Tobacco kills more than 480,000 Americans each year and costs $300 billion a year in health care.
The 2009 Tobacco Control Act gave the FDA the power to regulate tobacco, though not to ban it.
"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. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 15 percent of USA adults still smoke.
In doing so, Gottlieb has effectively initiated a public debate on exactly what level of nicotine would be sufficient to protect the public's health, as well as whether or not this plan should be carried out all at once or gradually.
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Many adults try to quit smoking each year but fail because nicotine is such an addictive substance, said Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products.
The evaluation was based on reducing nicotine levels to 0.4 milligrams per gram of tobacco filler, FDA officials told reporters during a teleconference.
Gottlieb admitted that people might smoke more of the low-nicotine cigarettes to get the same effect, as well as the possibility that a black market for high-nicotine cigarettes might develop, the Post reported.
"Our plan demonstrates a greater awareness that nicotine, while highly addictive, is delivered through products on a continuum of risk", Gottlieb said in a statement.
An additional wave of rule making will explore the role that premium cigars and flavors, including menthol, play in tobacco use.