FDA proposes reducing the amount of nicotine in cigarettes

Got mixed feelings on this one and I definitely need to get more information to have a hard and fast opinion.

The FDA, which under the Trump Administration I seriously no longer trust at all, is taking public comment on its proposal to drop the level of nicotine to “minimally or non-addictive levels.”

Seriously, considering who is the president right now, I’m amazed the FDA is going after Big Tobacco at all. Which makes me paranoid that this is some kind of end run that will end up actually helping Big Tobacco. How, I’m not sure, but I cannot trust this administration. It doesn’t help my paranoia that the tobacco industry is weirdly applauding the measure.

From a Agence French Press article:

“Today’s advance notice is a request for information, not a proposed rule, and is the first step in a multi-year process that will require the agency to examine and resolve many complex issues,” said Murray Garnick, executive vice president and general counsel of Altria Group, Inc., which includes tobacco giant Philip Morris.

“As FDA has acknowledged, any proposed nicotine standard would need to be part of a comprehensive package,” he added.

“Altria has already been preparing for any reasonable potential standard, and we plan to participate in every step of this process.”

I’d feel more comfortable if the industry was openly freaking out about this.

Anyway, without getting into conspiracy theories, right off the bat,   I have two thoughts.

If you simply reduce the level of nicotine, won’t that prompt smokers to smoke more in order to get the same level of nicotine they got prior? Remember, these are people already addicted to nicotine. I have no science to back this up, it’s just a thought on my part.

I CAN see a benefit that lowering nicotine drastically will make it much more difficult for young smokers to get addicted to nicotine to begin with.

There is some science to back up this point.

From a the Agence French Press article:

“We’re taking a pivotal step today that could ultimately bring us closer to our vision of a world where combustible cigarettes would no longer create or sustain addiction -– making it harder for future generations to become addicted in the first place and allowing more currently addicted smokers to quit or switch to potentially less harmful products,” said FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb.

A study released Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine projected that cutting nicotine to a non-addictive level could mean five million fewer smokers in the first year of implementation.

Within five years, another eight million fewer people would smoke, and by 2060, the smoking rate in the United States could drop to 1.4 percent, down from its present level of 15 percent, said the report.

Anyway, interesting times. I will definitely keep an eye on how this turns out. I expect it will be a while and I expect Trump will be long gone before it comes to any fruition.

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