Tobacco cigarettes pose health hazards on account of containing ammonia, tar, carbon dioxide, and other toxins. But what causes maximum damage is the presence of nicotine, as it is the one responsible for causing addiction. For this very reason, the federal government of the U.S. has proposed bringing down the proportion of nicotine in cigarettes so that they become less addictive.
Scott Gottlieb, chief of U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has asked the staff to come up with new rules pertaining to nicotine. Despite having the power to regulate nicotine levels since 2009, this is the first time that the FDA is seriously considering implementing it.
The announcement sent the stocks of cigarette manufacturers tumbling.
The FDA, as a part of the new strategy, is giving another four years to e-cigarette makers to comply with a review of products already being purveyed in the market. It plans to frame rules combining safety with e-cigarettes’ role to help smokers give up smoking.
In order to usher in new rules on nicotine levels, the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products will now try and check the chances of a black market for products containing higher nicotine emerging because of stricter rules on their use. It will also explore the role of e-cigarettes and other products in lowering harm from smoking.
Tobacco consumption is one of the main reasons for preventable heart disease and cancer in the U.S. It is said to cause over 480,000 deaths every year. Smoking rates, however, have been on a decline and are hovering around 15% these days.