The U.S government wants to have a regulation on the nicotine level in cigarettes so that they will no longer be too addictive. Scott Gottlieb, the chief of the Food and Drug Administration is going to cut nicotine level, a power this department already had since 2009.
Gottlieb also gave a four year time to companies that produce e-cigarettes to review their products and also cut nicotine levels. Gottlieb is concerned that more and more young people and kids got addicted to cigarettes.
Nicotine is not necessarily deadly but it’s addictive and a cigarette has also other substances and tar in it which through smoking they are a danger to smokers’ health.
All in all, cigarettes are responsible for more than 480,000 deaths per year in the U.S., by causing heart disease or cancer. Gottlieb said the Center for Tobacco Products inside the FDA will research in order to see if by lowering the nicotine level in cigarettes will cause the apparition of a black market for higher nicotine cigarettes. They will also research the role of e-cigarettes or other ways of consuming nicotine that would be less harmful than smoking.
An e-cigarette is a battery powered device which turns liquid nicotine in vapors that are inhalable.
Gottlieb also wants to get rid of the flavored tobacco in order to be less appealing to kids.
The good news is that over the years, smoking has lowered. In 2014 it dropped from 17% to 15% in 2015.
Eric Donny, a researcher from the University of Pittsburg studied what was the impact of smoking cigarettes with a lower nicotine level and they discovered that in reducing nicotine by 90%, smokers lower their addiction and start smoking fewer cigarettes.
It was debatable that smokers might react otherwise, and smoke more, but this would happen when the levels were lowered by only a little.
Another research studies whether the smokers who turn on lower nicotine cigarettes will choose to start using e-cigarettes or other products that are not as harmful as cigarettes.
Altria Group, the company which sells cigarettes in the U.S, such as Marlboro and even e-cigarettes, stated that it will follow the FDA rules and that if the department will base their decision on science and evidence, then they will go along as long as it is achievable from a technical point of view.