FDA preparing to cut nicotine levels in cigarettes

FDA preparing to cut nicotine levels in cigarettes

In yet another effort to fight back addition to smoking, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is aiming to lower nicotine levels in cigarettes.

On Friday, FDA Chief Scott Gottlieb directed staff to develop new regulations on levels of nicotine in smoking products. The federal government has proposed cutting levels of nicotine in cigarettes so that these products become less addictive.

Addressing agency staff, Gottlieb said, “A renewed focus on nicotine can help us to achieve a world where cigarettes no longer addict future generations of our kids.”

However, the cigarette industry was quick to criticize the decision. Mr. Donny, the director of Pitt's Center for the Evaluation of Nicotine in Cigarettes, argued that most of the harm linked with smoking isn’t caused by nicotine. Thus, decreasing nicotine will not make cigarettes safe.

The FDA was bestowed with the power to regulate nicotine levels in 2009 but the agency has not used it thus far. Stocks of cigarette companies plunged in wake of the announcement.

Tobacco use is the biggest cause of preventable heart disease and cancer-related deaths in the United States, causing as many as 480,000 deaths every twelve months.