The FDA Is Making Major Moves Against the Cigarette Industry

E-cigarettes can Cause More Public Health Harm than Benefit

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is pushing ahead with a plan to make cigarettes less addictive, a move that threatens to upend the tobacco industry and accelerate a shift toward new smoking technology.

While the agency hasn't decided how much it will slash nicotine levels, or when the regulation goes into effect, the goal is clear - make cigarettes less addictive.

Smoking rates have declined from almost 21 percent in 2005 to 15.5 percent in 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

By 2100, the plan would prevent 33 million people who are now children or young adults from ever taking up tobacco, saving 8 million lives.

The nicotine notice will be open for public comment for 90 days.

"We're interested in public input on critical questions such as: what potential maximum nicotine level would be appropriate for the protection of public health?" Nicotine levels can be manipulated by leaf blending, chemical extraction and genetic engineering.

He is also curious as to whether or not smokers will consume more cigarettes because of lower nicotine levels, or result to contraband tobacco if all else fails.

The FDA does not have the authority to ban tobacco-based products, but since it was given some powers by Congress in 2009, it has moved gradually to impose some limits of tobacco sales and marketing.

"There is no other single action our country can take that would prevent more young people from smoking or save more lives", Matthew Myers, the campaign's president, said.

"It would be the most significant public health proposal we have seen from the USA government in the last 20 years", he said. Combustible cigarettes are both the deadliest and the most efficient way to deliver nicotine, he said.

"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.

A spokesman for Philip Morris International said the company was still reviewing the agency's advance notice.

The FDA first announced in July that it was planning to start a public dialogue about writing such a rule.

The study was published March 14 in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research.

An additional wave of rule making will explore the role that premium cigars and flavors, including menthol, play in tobacco use.

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