FDA to Lower Nicotine in Cigarettes

FDA to Lower Nicotine in Cigarettes

The agency is asking for public comment on several aspects of the issue.

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.

Compared to nonsmokers, people who now smoked up to 10 cigarettes a day were 40 percent more likely to develop high frequency hearing loss and 10 percent more likely to develop low frequency hearing loss, the study found.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Thursday took the first step in creating a new rule to reduce the level of nicotine allowed in cigarettes to non-addictive levels.

According to its calculations, the agency estimates that by the year 2100 its rule could stop 33 million young adults from starting to smoke, but said it's likely to increase the number of people using e-cigarettes and other noncombustible tobacco products. Still, smoking causes 480,000 deaths annually in this country.

"It is critical that the FDA move as quickly as possible to turn this plan into reality", said Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

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"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. Combustible cigarettes are both the deadliest and the most efficient way to deliver nicotine, he said.

Since the FDA doesn't have the power to completely ban tobacco products from the market, they've settled for enforcing certain limitations on the standard of what's sold, which could result in a major reformulation of tobacco products.

"While this issue has been discussed conceptually for years, this is first time we have a government agency saying it is achievable, feasible and can be implemented in a way that doesn't cause serious negative consequences", Myers said. Those alternative nicotine-delivery products include e-cigarettes or nicotine replacement therapies.

Gottlieb said the FDA does not want to make nicotine products harder to get.

"We look forward to working with FDA on its science-based review of nicotine levels in cigarettes and to build on the opportunity of establishing a regulatory framework that is based on tobacco harm reduction and recognizes the continuum of risk", said Dr. James Figlar, executive vice president of research and development for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.

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