FDA looks to lower nicotine levels in cigarettes to reduce smoking rates

FDA Begins Push To Drastically Cut Nicotine In Cigarettes

"We're at a crossroads when it comes to addressing nicotine addiction and smoking in this country - with important new tools to address this devastating public health burden", he wrote. On average, smokers absorb 10 percent of the nicotine contained, with the typical systemic intake of 1-2 mg of nicotine per cigarette, according to the National Institutes of Health.

The move was announced by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) previous year to prevent millions of deaths linked to diseases related to cigarettes.

"We're taking a pivotal step today that could ultimately bring us closer to our vision of a world where combustible cigarettes would no longer create or sustain addiction - making it harder for future generations to become addicted in the first place and allowing more now addicted smokers to quit or switch to potentially less harmful products", said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb in a press release.

Key to FDA's proposal: Nicotine is highly addictive, but not deadly. Talking about the report, Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, a senior cancer surgeon, Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai said, "There is still a lot that needs to be done to curb the use of tobacco that is one of the leading causes of cardiovascular diseases, stroke, pulmonary diseases and certain types of cancers".

Smoking kills 480,000 people in the US each year - equivalent to almost one in five deaths - even though smoking rates have been declining for decades.

He said he is optimistic the change will save lives.

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On Thursday, the agency's commissioner, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, announced that it would propose the rule, and in doing so begins a long bureaucratic process.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is working to lower the amount of nicotine in cigarettes to dramatically reduce smoking rates.

The agency doesn't have the authority to ban tobacco products, but can limit tobacco sales and marketing. "FDA is particularly interested in comments about the merits of nicotine levels like 0.3, 0.4, and 0.5 mg nicotine/g of tobacco filler, as well as other levels of nicotine", it says.

But Bauld warns, "However, there will be big challenges implementing this in the real world". In fact, cigarettes are the only legal consumer product that, when used as intended, will kill half of all long-term users.

The plan to restrict nicotine in cigarettes is only part of a broader anti-smoking push outlined by Gottlieb.

"We believe this unprecedented approach to nicotine and tobacco regulation not only makes sense, but also offers us the best opportunity for achieving significant, meaningful public health gain", Gottlieb said.

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