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Democrat President Joe Biden’s administration is going to war with the nearly $100 billion U.S. cigarette industry by trying to implement a new FDA rule that would effectively ban nearly all nicotine in cigarettes.
The move reportedly comes as Biden tries to put energy into his cancer moonshot initiative — where he promised to reduce cancer rates in the U.S. by half over the next quarter century — amid his presidency that has been chalked full of crises that many have blamed him for, including skyrocketing inflation, record high gas prices, war breaking out in Europe, disastrous foreign policy decisions, a catastrophic border crisis, and a pandemic that Biden has failed to stop.
“FDA officials said reducing nicotine in cigarettes to very low levels would prevent future generations from becoming addicted to cigarettes, and help current smokers to quit or switch to less-harmful alternatives,” The Wall Street Journal reported. “According to an FDA study published in 2018, such a rule would prompt an additional 13 million adult smokers to quit within five years of implementation.”
Tobacco companies have noted that the move could potentially eliminate hundreds of thousands of jobs. The Washington Post noted that opponents are likely to argue to “science does not support such a move” and that “slashing nicotine would boost demand for products on the black market.”
Biden’s plan likely would not take effect for years and could easily be reversed under a future administration or could lose to heavy lobbying by the Tobacco industry, which is expected to fight back hard.
“The policy would apply to all cigarettes sold in the U.S.,” the Journal added. “Imports of traditional cigarettes would be barred but multinational tobacco companies could continue to sell full-nicotine cigarettes in other countries.”
Guy Bentley, director of consumer freedom at the Reason Foundation, a libertarian think tank, said that Biden’s plan would ultimately fail.
“In practical terms, the proposal would ban most cigarettes currently sold in America,” Bentley said. “Combined with the Biden administration’s proposed ban on menthol cigarettes, this would amount to an effort similar to the prohibition of alcohol in the 1920s” — leading it to fail, he said, according to the Post.