FDA Wants To Clamp Down on Nicotine Levels in Cigarettes

07 August, 2017, 00:50 | Author: Garry Little
  • Financial Markets Wall Street British American Tobacco

The goal is to ensure that the agency has the proper scientific and regulatory foundation to efficiently and effectively implement the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.

The FDA's decision to regulate nicotine levels is the first time they've done so since gaining the power to oversee the industry in 2009.

In a statement, the agency pointed to the 480,000 annual deaths in the United States due to tobacco, deeming it the leading cause in preventable illness and death. The agency will also seek input on critical public health issues such as the role of flavors in tobacco products.

Each cigarette can contain between 8 mg and 20 mg of nicotine, which is as addictive as heroin, according to the American Heart Association. In addition to the devastating human toll caused mainly by cigarette smoking, tobacco also causes substantial financial costs to society, with direct health care and lost productivity costs totaling almost $300 billion a year.

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The FDA thinks exploring safe ways to deliver nicotine in products like e-cigarettes and nicotine gum is essential for their users. "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 " needs to be the cornerstone of our efforts", he said. The regulatory authority has also announced the need to initiate a public dialogue on reducing the levels of nicotine levels in combustible cigarette products to make them less addictive, which could significantly drop the number of individuals who start smoking before they turn 18 and, in turn, impact the number of smokers in generations to come. Setting a "non-addictive" threshold might prove impossible, especially since some smokers inhale more nicotine from the same cigarette while others metabolize slower.

To curb addiction, the FDA has proposed a new strategy to reduce nicotine levels in tobacco cigarettes to non-addictive levels.

Gottlieb also held out the possibility that premium cigars would be exempted from FDA oversight, but the overall outlook for traditional tobacco products appeared grim. The FDA hasn't set a firm timeline for the new policies but calls the plan "a multi-year roadmap".

The company is in the process of preparing a Pre-Market Tobacco Application (PMTA) for the U.S. FDA in order to gain marketing clearance to sell BRAND-A, a very low nicotine tobacco-cigarette that accomplishes exactly what the FDA's comprehensive plan is positioned to recommend.

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