U.S. Seeks to Limit Nicotine Levels in Cigarettes

TThe Biden Administration announced that it would issue a new regulation mandating to tobacco companies reduce nicotine levels in cigarettes. This is in an effort to lower smoking-related deaths in America.

A notice of a proposed rule published on the US Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs states that the Food and Drug Administration will develop a rule to ban cigarettes’ nicotine content.

“Because tobacco-related harms primarily result from addiction to products that repeatedly expose users to toxins, FDA would take this action to reduce addictiveness to certain tobacco products, thus giving addicted users a greater ability to quit,” the administration said in the notice for the proposed rule. The administration stated that 480,000 Americans die each year from smoking-related causes.

In a separate statement, FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf said that “making cigarettes and other combusted tobacco products minimally addictive or non-addictive would help save lives.”

It will take a long time to issue the rule, which will be opposed by the tobacco sector.

The Washington Post reported earlier that the administration planned to make an announcement. Shares of Altria Group Inc., which sells Marlboro cigarettes in the US, rose 0.9% in New York trading on Tuesday, below the advance of the S&P 500 Index.

In an emailed statement, Altria said the government’s focus “should be less on taking products away from adult smokers and more on providing them a robust marketplace of reduced harm FDA-authorized smoke-free products.” It added that the announcement “marks the start of a long-term process, which must be science-based and account for potentially serious unintended consequences.”

Altria encourages the use of heated tobacco products to replace smoking cigarettes.

22nd Century Group Inc. was approved last year by regulators to market its cigarettes as having 95% less than conventional ones. Tobacco companies have argued in the past that removing nicotine isn’t possible, but their position holds less water now that 22nd Century has shown it can be done.

—With assistance from Josh Wingrove

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