16 March, 2018
The idea of reducing nicotine to non-addictive or "minimally addictive" levels is the "cornerstone" of a comprehensive tobacco control plan announced in July by FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb.
If nicotine levels in cigarettes are reduced to minimal or non-addictive levels, it could help about five million adult smokers to quit within one year. For instance, will smokers turn to illicitly imported products, or simply smoke more cigarettes? After the comment period ends, officials will decide whether to move forward with a formal proposal.
"It would be the most significant public health proposal we have seen from the USA government in the last 20 years", he said.
"Despite years of aggressive efforts to tackle the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States, tobacco use - largely cigarette smoking - still kills more than 480,000 Americans every single year", he said.
U.S. 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.
Robin Koval, chief executive and president of Truth Initiative, another anti-tobacco group, also praised the effort, calling it a "a serious, strong response". Those alternative nicotine-delivery products include e-cigarettes or nicotine replacement therapies.More news: The Cast Of Suits Will Attend The Royal Wedding
"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.
"This unprecedented public health opportunity, contrasted against the cost of doing nothing, weighs heavily on me", Gottlieb said in a statement.
The move would be a big blow to Big Tobacco, which has successfully fought off attempts to regulate how cigarettes are formulated.
An additional wave of rule making will explore the role that premium cigars and flavors, including menthol, play in tobacco use.