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Public Comment Periods Open On Sweeping New Tobacco Plan

by Countable | Updated on 3.21.18

What’s the story?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed a comprehensive, and potentially groundbreaking, plan to combat tobacco addiction in the United States. Nicotine levels in cigarettes, alternative nicotine-delivery products, nicotine cessation methods, flavorings and other features shown to target kids -- it’s all in there.

They’ve initiated the first public comment periods on the plan, with more to follow, so now’s the time to weigh in on a policy that FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb called potentially "one of the biggest public health victories in modern history."

In a statement Gottlieb outlined the impact of tobacco use on public health and the economy:

  • Tobacco use – largely cigarette smoking – kills more than 480,000 Americans every single year

  • Tobacco use also costs nearly $300 billion a year in direct health care and lost productivity

He also outlined the potential impact of the FDA’s comprehensive plan:

  • 5 million additional adult smokers could quit smoking within one year of implementation

  • By the year 2100, more than 33 million people – mostly youth and young adults – would have avoided becoming regular smokers

  • Smoking rates could drop from the current 15 percent to as low as 1.4 percent

  • Prevention of more than 8 million tobacco-caused deaths through the end of the century

Comments are currently being solicited via the federal register on the aspect of the plan concerning nicotine levels in combustible cigarettes. The plan seeks to enact regulation that will set a maximum amount of nicotine cigarettes can have, reports Vox, with the goal of reducing the level of nicotine in combustible cigarettes to non-addictive levels.

Some of the questions Gottlieb states that he is hoping public comments will address include:

  • What potential maximum nicotine level would be appropriate for the protection of public health?

  • Should a product standard be implemented all at once or gradually?

  • What unintended consequences – such as the potential for illicit trade or for addicted smokers to compensate for lower nicotine by smoking more – might occur as a result?

Public comments are due by June 14, 2018

The public comment period is also open on the role that flavors – including menthol – play in initiation, use and cessation of tobacco products. Are they being used to market to kids? Could they be used to move smokers to less harmful nicotine-delivery products? Public comments are due by June 19, 2018.

A public comment period soliciting comments and data related to the regulation of premium cigars has not yet been published via the FDA’s page in the federal register.

What do you think?

Do you support the FDA’s plan to combat tobacco deaths or not? Do you like some aspects of the plan and not others? What do you think of forcing cigarette manufacturers to re-engineer their products to make them non-addictive? What about flavorings in cigarettes or liquid nicotine products?

Make a comment on the federal register!

Tell us in the comments what you think, then use the Take Action button to tell your reps!

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: .jocelyn. via Flickr / Creative Commons)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(64)
  • RadicalModerate
    03/21/2018
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    How about the death penalty for tobacco executives and the corrupt politicians who allow the continued poisoning of Americans.

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  • Sara
    03/21/2018
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    It's the government's responsibility to take care of it's citizens? Really? What in the world ever happened to individual responsibility for decisions and choices? If people choose to smoke, that is their perogative to do so. The government does not need to be involved in this. And no, I'm not a smoker.

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  • BeStrong
    03/21/2018
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    Public safety is government business; seat belts, lead in water and paint, car safety requirements, etc. 500,000 people in the US die each year from tobacco/nicotine effects. Low nicotine levels ASAP, rip off the bandaid. If tobacco can’t handle the change then they can go the way of the dodo. And smokers, y’ll say I’ll stop when I’m ready and then the diagnosis comes.

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  • KansasTamale
    03/21/2018
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    Support for the FDA’s plan to combat tobacco deaths should be a given, even when it’s smoke & mirrors to cover up Trump’s horrible idea about combatting drug use. Reducing nicotine is a great idea, assuming nicotine is a REAL part of tobacco. Forcing cigarette manufacturers to re-engineer their products to make them non-addictive is no different from making auto manufacturers make safer cars. It’s the responsibility of the government to take care of its citizens. No to flavorings in cigarettes or liquid nicotine products because that’s also adding things that can cause illness or addiction.

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  • Daryl
    03/21/2018
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    The government has no business dictating nicotine levels, or mpg on vehicles, or anything on education. Congress can’t even balance a budget, much less need to regulate any vusiness

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  • Jean-pierre
    03/21/2018
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    I don’t like over-generalized term like “big tobacco.” But it seems that for decades, they’ve been granted a license to kill. This needs to change - and now will be better than not.

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  • Lynea
    03/21/2018
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    I think lowering the nicotine is a great idea. I think doing it over a period of years will help people adjust without having to compensate so much with extra cigarettes. The flavoring should be eliminated.

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  • Tooluser1
    03/21/2018
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    More Nanny State interventionalism. There's NO detail or decision too small to be dictated by faceless bureaucrats. And Heavens forbid Vaping cut into big tobacco's proffits! Naturally we need a bloated bureaucracy that only big tobacco can afford to navigate to regulate Vaping....

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  • Daron
    03/21/2018
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    I smoke cigarettes because i like them. When i want to quit, i will. Did you know the level of nicotine in your body drops to 3% after 8 hours? So it’s all a mental withdraw, engrained in our heads from the fda to sell “nicotine supplements”. I don’t need the federal government stepping in. I already have the state upping my taxes every time they can’t pass a budget, which in PA IS EVERY YEAR. Mind your own business. We’ll all die off soon enough. And i pay for my own health insurance so before you get all upset that I’m taking your dear tax dollars, I’m not. But what will be taking your tax dollars is supporting the fda to do this.

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  • Keith
    03/22/2018
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    Can everyone just leave us smokers alone? I quit entirely for 4 years, and I’ll continue smoking until I’m ready to quit again. Mind your own problems.

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  • DrRichSwier
    03/22/2018
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    I’m not worried about tobacco. I’m worried about the growing numbers of Americans addicted to illegal and prescription drugs. From marijuana to opioids. The crisis of drug addiction and abuse is killing us, literally.

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  • Vince
    03/22/2018
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    Yeah, let's legislate people into good health! Prohibition, the war on drugs, and the soda tax have all worked so well! Or.....How about we try a little thing called bodily autonomy? Let people do what they want with their bodies, so long as it's not directly affecting anyone else's liberty.

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  • Brian
    03/21/2018
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    I strongly support any actions targeting the tobacco industry and there targeting of our youth just to fill there greedy pockets regardless of the impact to the health of the nation and the cost to tax payers

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  • Truly
    03/22/2018
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    I would rather see someone treating the gun addiction in this country.

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  • Leon
    03/21/2018
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    Again, the government doesn’t need to be ‘responsible’ or legislating on everything.

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  • Blazerman
    03/22/2018
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    I could really care less about whether people smoke or not. As long as you keep it away from me it doesn’t matter if you put cocaine in your cornflakes or hash in your stew, it’s really not my concern. I wish you Democrats . Worshiping the big brother lifestyle since it is none of your business either.

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  • Bones6048
    03/21/2018
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    The government needs to stay out of this kind of controlling of the people. What’s next? Dictating what we can eat? How much TV we can watch? Where does it end? Is this still a free country or not?

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  • Shannon
    03/22/2018
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    People will smoke until they themselves decide to quit.

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  • Victoria
    03/21/2018
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    Yes all the way.

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  • Jodi
    03/22/2018
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    Stay out of it....concentrate on opiates and other dangerous drugs and maybe helping people naturally rather than prescribed medication

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