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17 Marcha 2018, 10:01 | Martinez Canez
FDA planning to lower nicotine in cigarettes
"Cigarettes are the only legal consumer product that, when used as intended, will kill half of all long-term users", FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement, noting that 480,000 Americans die every year due to tobacco-related causes. The new plan is expected to lower the nicotine amount in cigarettes to "minimally or non-addictive levels".
Of all the preventable ways that Americans die, cigarettes claim more lives than any other every year, directly leading to almost one in every five deaths. The anti-smoking policy, first revealed in 2017, hopes to push the smoking rate in the U.S.to under two percent.
In October, the FDA addressed youth use of e-cigarettes and other electronic nicotine-delivery systems (ENDS) through its "The Real Cost" campaign. This research was pivotal to establishing that smokers won't compensate by smoking more cigarettes or inhaling more deeply if nicotine levels are low enough. But getting those results would be a dramatic regulatory step, one that the FDA is unlikely to take. This means that scientists would modify genes in the tobacco plant so that those that control nicotine production are shut down, Strasser told Live Science.
There has been no clear decision on much nicotine the FDA intends to cut, or how quickly implementation will be, NPR reports. This was done in response to research that showed cigarettes could be made with nicotine levels as low as 0.3 mg per cigarette in comparison to the current range of 1.1 to 1.7 mg.
Although the move could be a significant blow to the tobacco industry, initial reaction from companies was muted. These vaping devices deliver nicotine with fewer toxic chemicals than traditional cigarettes produce, but they also introduce potential smokers to nicotine's addictive buzz.
However, the study stops short of recommending a new maximum.
One lung health expert applauded the move.
"If you just reduce it a little, people might smoke more to make up the difference".
This action could be taken by the FDA without further legislation or approval by Congress.
Mondy says that this win for tobacco is an echo of a the disparity he documents in his film: while only about 20 percent of white smokers prefer menthols, around nine out of 10 black smokers do.
"While we continue to encourage innovation of potentially less harmful forms of nicotine delivery for now addicted adult smokers, we can all agree no child should be using any nicotine-containing product", he said. At the same time we're also jump-starting new work to re-evaluate and modernize our approach to the development and regulation of safe and effective medicinal nicotine replacement products such as nicotine gums, patches and lozenges that help smokers quit. This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to greatly accelerate progress in reducing tobacco use - the nation's No. 1 cause of preventable death -and bring us closer to eliminating the death and disease it causes.
"Today's advance notice is a request for information, not a proposed rule", said Murray Garnick, general counsel for Altria Group.
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