“This is the first time there’s ever been a serious discussion with a commitment from the highest levels of government to tackle tobacco in a way that is transformative,” said Matthew Myers, the president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
. “It will transform public health in the United States and literally do more to reduce cancer, cardiovascular disease and respiratory disease than any other set of actions the government could take.”
The new initiative was released as a part of what is called the administration’s “unified agenda.” Released twice a year, this is a set of planned federal regulatory actions.
The rule says that the effort to lower nicotine in tobacco products would reduce people’s addiction to smoking and give people a better shot at quitting. Reducing the amount of nicotine in these products would also likely prevent people from starting smoking.
“Addiction to nicotine in combusted products is the main driver of sustained use of these products. In fact, more than half of adult cigarette smokers make a serious quit attempt each year (quitting for at least a day), but most do not succeed due to the addictive nature of cigarettes. Such a product standard, if proposed and then finalized after a thorough process, would make those products minimally- or non-addictive,” the US Food and Drug Administration said in a statement
“Nicotine is powerfully addictive,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf said in the statement. “Lowering nicotine levels to minimally addictive or non-addictive levels would decrease the likelihood that future generations of young people become addicted to cigarettes and help more currently addicted smokers to quit.”
Nicotine is the chemical in tobacco products that is highly addictive. The chemical can change the way the brain works, making people crave more of it, according to the FDA.
show that when the nicotine content of cigarettes is reduced, people don’t seem to smoke more
to compensate for the missing nicotine. The lower nicotine level cigarettes also seem to be effective in alleviating withdrawal, studies show.
“If you don’t have high enough levels of nicotine, it seems that you don’t trigger as strong as an addiction,” Dr. Rose Marie Robertson, the deputy chief science officer
of the American Heart Association, said. “I’ve had patients in the past who had been addicted to both nicotine and heroin at different times in their lives and one of them said it was much tougher to quit nicotine.”
show that two-thirds of young smokers say they want to quit. Lowering nicotine levels could make a big difference.
“If we could keep them from being addicted in the first place, that would be good and this has the potential to really produce a dramatic change in tobacco use,” Robertson said.
About 480,000 people in the US die from smoking-related disease, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is the leading cause of preventable death in the US.
The number of smokers has declined significantly in the past 15 years, but as of 2020, still about 12.5% of US adults, or 30.8 million people smoked cigarettes. More than 16 million live with a smoking-related disease…
Read More News: Biden administration moves to restrict nicotine levels in tobacco products