FDA Takes 'Pivotal Step' in Plan to Make Cigarettes Less Addictive

16 March, 2018, 02:03 | Author: Nina Hammond
  • Reuters

The Food and Drug Administration plans to try to lower the amount of nicotine in cigarettes to make them less addictive - an unprecedented move by the agency.

Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, an antismoking group, said that Thursday's action will have "enormous significance" - provided it is followed by quick FDA action to develop and adopt a final rule.

Samir Soneji, principle investigator of the study and associate professor from the Dartmouth's Geisel School of Medicine said in a statement that, "E-cigarettes will likely cause more public health harm than public health benefit unless ways can be found to substantially decrease the number of adolescents and young adults who vape and increase the number of smokers who use e-cigarettes to successfully quit smoking".

This story will updated.

Tobacco companies have carefully engineered their products to be as addictive as possible, said Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products.

Within five years, another eight million fewer people would smoke, and by 2060, the smoking rate in the United States could drop to 1.4 percent, down from its present level of 15 percent, said the report.

The 2009 Tobacco Control Act gave the FDA the power to regulate tobacco, though not to ban it. Combustible cigarettes are both the deadliest and the most efficient way to deliver nicotine, he said.

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Tobacco kills more than 480,000 Americans each year and costs $300 billion a year in health care.

"Should a product standard be implemented all at once or gradually?"

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.

The evaluation was based on reducing nicotine levels to 0.4 milligrams per gram of tobacco filler, FDA officials told reporters during a teleconference.

"As part of our comprehensive plan on tobacco and nicotine regulation announced last summer, we're issuing an advance notice of proposed rulemaking to explore a product standard to lower nicotine in cigarettes to minimally or non-addictive levels".

The FDA plans to file two more rule-making notices - on one the impact of flavored tobacco, including menthol, and one on premium cigars.

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