3 years ago

FDAs new plan to reduce the nicotine in cigarettes to sub-addictive levels could be a game-changer

On 28 July 2017, US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Chief Scott Gottlieb, MD, announced a bold new plan to limit the nicotine allowed in manufactured cigarettes.1 Gottlieb, a Trump appointee revealing C Everett Koop-like potential, pointed out that cigarettes remain the leading preventable cause of death in the USA, killing nearly half a million Americans every year.2 But of course it is the nicotine in cigarettes—kept above some crucial level and potency—that keeps people smoking and ultimately leads to disease, death and the suffering of families. Gottlieb did not specify a level below which nicotine would have to be lowered, but he did say it would have to render cigarettes ‘minimally or non-addictive’.

Gottlieb’s announcement caused a panic on Wall Street, where cigarette stocks took a plunge not seen for decades. Altria’s market value was briefly down nearly 20%, and other cigarette makers suffered significant losses....

Publisher URL: http://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/cgi/content/short/26/5/487

DOI: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2017-053978

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