The Food and Drug Administration is seeking to lower the death rate by lung cancer and cigarettes by cutting the nicotine levels so low that they are no longer addictive. Smoking is responsible for almost half a million deaths per year, as well as half of all long-term smokers. The deaths are due to the numerous issues associated with cigarette smoking, including heart disease, lung cancer, asthma, and Alzheimer’s disease. Smoking can also cause cancers all over the body, from mouth and throat, to colorectal.
This effects many people, and is a huge issue for national health. and FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a press release:
“Unless we change course, 5.6 million young people alive today will die prematurely later in life from tobacco use. Envisioning a world where cigarettes would no longer create or sustain addiction, and where adults who still need or want nicotine could get it from alternative and less harmful sources, needs to be the cornerstone of our efforts — and we believe it’s vital that we pursue this common ground.”
Nicotine is targeted due to it’s addictive tendencies. If the FDA mandates a lower nicotine count, it will lover the ability for the cigarettes to become addictive, will will cause less people to smoke them in the long term. Although it is not the nicotine itself that causes disease, it is the hundreds of other chemicals that are added to them, but the only reason people continue to smoke them is due to the nicotine content. A cigarette with less nicotine is like a soda with less sweetener.
Mitch Zeller, J.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, said in the release:
“This comprehensive plan and sweeping approach to tobacco and nicotine allows the FDA to apply the powerful tools given by Congress to achieve the most significant public health impact. Public input on these complex issues will help ensure the agency has the proper science-based policies in place to meaningfully reduce the harms caused by tobacco use.”
They not only will they seek public opinion on the reduction of nicotine, but also on other topics as well. They will also ask what the public thinks on the topic of kid-friendly flavors appearing on things such as E-cigarettes.
While they are lowering the nicotine content in cigarettes, nicotine patches and gum will not be affected. The tobacco industry, which makes their fortune by keeping people hooked on cigarettes, will definitely be trying to fight this new regulation. There is still time before the FDA makes their final decision.