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FDA announces plan to cut nicotine in cigarettes

FDA announces plan to cut nicotine in cigarettes

Citigroup analyst Adam Spielman said he didn't believe the FDA will be able to lower nicotine to nonaddictive levels because defining that level will be difficult, it would be hard to make cigarettes with a very low level of nicotine and there would be huge political opposition.

British American Tobacco shares fell as much as 11 per cent while Altria fell as much as 16 per cent. It also gives the FDA more time to establish the means for regulating e-cigarettes.

The FDA gained oversight of tobacco products in 2009 through the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.

Manufactures of newly regulated combustible products, including cigars, pipe tobacco and hookah tobacco will have until August 8, 2021 to submit applications for market approval.

There are obstacles to the plan, however, including figuring out to deal with the people now addicted to nicotine and finding the best ways to prevent people from smoking far more cigarettes in order to get the psychoactive effects of nicotine that they crave.

Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States, accounting for more than 480,000 deaths every year, according to the CDC. The agency also highlighted "substantial costs to society", namely almost $300 billion in direct health care costs and lost productivity each year.




US smoking rates have been falling for decades. Under the proposed delay, products would be able to remain on the market while FDA determines whether to green light the products for sale to consumers.

British American Tobacco said it was not surprised by the FDA move to cut nicotine. Nearly 90% of adult smokers started smoking before the age of 18 and 2,500 youths have their first cigarette every day, the agency said.

The plan had an immediate effect on the stock market, Bloomberg reports.

But it also includes a pledge to look at the role of menthol cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products created to appeal to youth, and the health impacts of smoking premium cigars.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration chief Scott Gottlieb on Friday directed the agency's staff to develop new regulations on nicotine.

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