Cigarette Smoking Could Be Safer as FDA Moves to Strip Nicotine

Cigarette Smoking Could Be Safer as FDA Moves to Strip Nicotine

R Street Harm Reduction Policy Director Carrie Wade noted that this should be considered an important first step to reorient FDA regulation of tobacco products from a process created to protect the sales and profits of the major cigarette makers to one created to reduce tobacco-related addiction, illness and death. "But the nicotine in cigarettes is not directly responsible for the cancer, lung disease, and heart disease that kill hundreds of thousands of Americans each year".

Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said the FDA's proposal "represents a bold and comprehensive vision with the potential to accelerate progress in reducing tobacco use and death".

U.S. Food and Drug Administration chief Scott Gottlieb on Friday directed the agency's staff to develop new regulations on nicotine.

Mostly because of cigarette smoking, tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States and around the world.

British American Tobacco said it was not surprised by the FDA move to cut nicotine.

FDA claimed nicotine is most harmful when delivered through smoke particles in combustible cigarettes and that less harmful products like e-cigarettes should be explored.

As for newer nicotine-delivery systems such as vaping and electronic cigarettes, the FDA says that makers of those and other newly regulated products will be given more time to submit them for review.

"This long delay will allow egregious, kid-friendly e-cigarettes and cigars, in flavors like gummy bear, cherry crush and banana smash, to stay on the market with little public health oversight", Myers said in a statement.

Neil Wilson of ETX Capital said it was "hard to overstate" what falling numbers of addicts and less frequent smoking could mean for corporate revenues.

The FDA announcement is great news, said Eric Donny, a University of Pittsburgh researcher who has studied what happens when smokers puff on cigarettes with lower levels of nicotine. The agency added that the toll also has a monetary cost, with "direct health care and lost productivity costs totaling almost $300 billion a year".

Tobacco company shares plunged after the FDA announced the proposal.

The plan had an immediate effect on the stock market, Bloomberg reports.

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