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Smoke 'Em While You Got 'Em! FDA Wants to Lower Nicotine in Cigarettes.

by Countable | 7.31.17

What’s the story?

On Friday the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) announced a new, comprehensive plan to change the face of the tobacco market in the United States. Smokers may be particularly interested in the FDA’s plan to enact rules lowering the admissible level of nicotine in combustible cigarettes. Overall, the new plan intends to make tobacco products "less toxic, appealing, and addictive." Formal, public dialogue begins soon to “seek input on the potential public health benefits and any possible adverse effects of lowering nicotine in cigarettes.”

Why does it matter?

The Hill reports that Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, believes the promising aspects of the plan are manifold:

"These include proposals to reduce nicotine levels in cigarettes to non-addictive levels; to regulate the use of flavors in tobacco products, including prohibiting the use of menthol in cigarettes; and to develop more effective tobacco cessation treatments in order to help more smokers quit."

Myers took issue, and industry leaders celebrated, over the postponement of existing deadlines around e-cigarrettes. Prior to the announcement, e-cigarette manufacturers were facing a deadline of next year to seek approval to sell any product that entered the market after Feb. 15, 2007. Now they have until Aug. 8, 2022.

The use of e-cigarettes, called "vaping", is a valid harm reduction strategy, according to manufacturers. They say vaping provides the nicotine “hit” without the harmful ingestion of tar and other toxic chemicals involved in smoking combustible cigarettes.

Opponents maintain that flavored tobacco liquids designed for vaping systems with flavors like gummy bears, cotton candy and fruit loops are attracting kids to the product.

FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb acknowledged the issue in the news release, but insisted that the administration needed more time to come to sound, lasting conclusions:

"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."

Manufacturers of combustible cigarettes saw their stock prices plummet on Friday following the announcement, but then stabilize somewhat. They have committed to being actively engaged in the new rulemaking process, and seem cautiously optimistic about the outcome. The New York Times quoted R. J. Reynolds, which issued a statement that it looked forward to "participating in a thorough process to develop a comprehensive plan for tobacco and nicotine regulation."

What can you do?

Do you support the FDA’s wide-ranging plan to change tobacco consumption in the United States? Do you think they’re going too far or not far enough?

Use the Take Action button to tell your reps what you think!

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: Vaping 360 via Flickr / Creative Commons)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(75)
  • Jeanne
    08/01/2017
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    I support this completely. Cigarettes kill millions worldwide annually. Without nicotine, people won't smoke. Nicotine is more addictive than heroin. It's really hard for people to stop smoking. The vacant farmland could be used to grow real food.

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  • Steve
    08/01/2017
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    Absolutely should! The cigarette companies got away with engineering a product to be MORE addictive than regular tobacco. If they could make cigarettes as addictive as Heroin I think they would if they had the leeway. People cannot quit because of the high levels of nicotine along with many other TOXIC chemicals and therefore people cannot quit and healthcare costs go up when the smoker starts having health issues. The cigarette companies are one law away from being just as bad as Illegal Drug Cartels.

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  • THooper
    08/01/2017
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    I'm sorry, but this has to be one of the dumbest things I've seen yet. They want to reduce the levels of a naturally occurring chemical in a plant? Make me wonder how many other things in my life are genetically modified. Not to mention the fact that reduced levels will only cause smokers to smoke more to achieve the same level of nicotine. All this is, is another ploy for the government to control our lives further, put more of our hard earned money in their pockets, and further deepen the pockets of big tobacco. They could truly care less about your health as state and federal get as much as $4 per pack in taxes. You do the math.

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  • Dara
    08/01/2017
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    Cigarettes like alcohol and any other drug is harmful. However, adults make their own choices and ultimately have to live with that choice. We tried prohibition and that was an abyssmal failure. We are simply a society that takes little responsibilility for our choices.

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  • Metaphoric
    08/01/2017
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    Ofcourse everyone's for this since they are nonsmokers. It's interesting that it's okay to drink yourself into a coma but light a cigarette and the world is about to end.

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  • Peter
    08/01/2017
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    No! Nicotine might be the addictive substance it has no negative Heath effects. Smoking does though, and if someone is use to one level of nicotine they will just end up smoking more not less. Smoking is on it's way down, and doesn't need much more legislation. This is just feel good easy stuff that won't hurt your chances for reelection.

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  • Zac
    08/01/2017
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    This is a very important and smart regulation. Please look at clinical data from trials done by 22nd Century Group, Inc. in conjunction with the FDA in order to better understand how great an impact lowering nicotine in cigarettes by 95%, to non-addictive levels, could have on the health of the general population.

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  • Lisa
    08/01/2017
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    This is stupid. Nicotine is naturally occurring in the plant. And to all the non smokers (myself included) - consider all the taxes paid to the federal government. That deficit would have to be made up elsewhere. Ready to pay more taxes? Go look up excise tax paid to treasury from smoking.

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  • AmberLGould
    08/01/2017
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    I support this completely. Cigarettes kill millions worldwide annually. Without nicotine, people won't smoke. Nicotine is more addictive than heroin. It's really hard for people to stop smoking. The vacant farmland could be used to grow real food. And healthcare costs will decrease.

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  • Azrael
    08/01/2017
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    Educational and support programs have been stripped of funding Removing the nicotine is a start, but all addictions have a mental as well as a physical cause. If you want a cure, you have to treat the whole addiction

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  • Ochoninja
    08/01/2017
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    This seems like a good idea. As I understand it the tobacco industry increased nicotine to make it more addictive to increase sales. Choices should be made for health and not for supporting the tobacco industry

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  • Matthew.hamrick
    08/01/2017
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    This is great! Less people addicted and less people smoking. This will also reduce the amount of people who are affected from second hand smoke.

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  • ProudAmerican
    08/01/2017
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    I do not agree with this measure. As a smoker I know for a fact this will only push smokers to buy and smoke MORE cigarettes in order to get the nicotine fix. This is a fools goal.

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  • Tracey
    08/02/2017
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    Lowering nicotine in cigarettes will result in smokers increasing their use in order to get the same effect. All this bill does is increase profits for cigarette companies.

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  • Amy
    08/01/2017
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    This should have been done long ago!

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  • Deirdre
    08/01/2017
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    So since alcohol causes more deaths and accidents is that also going to be on your list of harmful products. Soon the government will be dictating the amount of sugar we use. This is where the government needs to get out of the Americans business.

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  • Jeffrey
    08/01/2017
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    Land of the Free! So let me smoke me cigarettes. I am well aware it is bad for me. I quit while in the army, and now that my time is my own, I will smoke if I please. I have earned the right to make that choice. You know, "My body My choice!" Stop regulating every behavior that someone finds offensive. Health concerns are NOTHING BUT A LOAD OF BULL!, otherwise they would be going after the alcohol industry. We all know that won't happen. Anyone who supports this yet drinks, smokes pot or believes others have a right to do so is a hippocrit.

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  • Lawrence
    08/01/2017
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    Not far enough.

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  • Brandon
    08/01/2017
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    I don't even know why they try. I make my own "juice" at home. Flavorings, polypropylene glycol ( I personally use vodka instead of this ) ,pharmaceutical grade vegetable glycerin and pharmaceutical grade nicotine is all cheap and easily obtainable. I have enough nicotine on hand to last me several years and in the event they try to make that harder to get i can get a life time supply for under 200 dollars. It is not governments job to make sure im healthy or that things are safe for me. I am capable of doing that on my own and with the availability of the things needed to make it yourself far cheaper than you can buy it regulating it further will just start to create black market or self suppliers and effectively make the regulations worthless. If that happens you could see the opposite effect as people could make or buy low quality "juice" or not know the proper mixture and have a massive dose of nicotine. Government needs to calm down it does not need to run or be in every facet of our daily lives. Thats not how a free society works.

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  • Andrew
    08/01/2017
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    YEA!

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