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President Biden’s administration will impose restrictions on the amount of nicotine in cigarettes and tobacco products.
The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, a division within the Office of Management and Budget, issued a statement on Tuesday regarding the proposal.
“This proposed rule is a tobacco product standard that would establish a maximum nicotine level in cigarettes and certain finished tobacco products,” the statement read.
“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 statement continues. “This product standard would also help to prevent experimenters (mainly youth) from initiating regular use, and, therefore, from becoming regular smokers.”
The Food and Drug Administration intends to implement the new rule by May 2023, according to The Washington Post, which added, “It could take at least a year for the Food and Drug Administration, which regulates cigarettes, to issue a proposed rule, experts say. After that, the FDA would have to sift through comments from the public before issuing a final rule.”
“Nicotine is an addictive chemical found in cigarettes and other tobacco products,” The Wall Street Journal noted. “While nicotine hooks people on cigarettes, nicotine itself doesn’t cause cancer, heart disease or lung disease, according to the FDA.”
“The cigarette smoking rate has been declining in the U.S. for decades, though it ticked up slightly in 2020 when the pandemic hit,” the Journal pointed out.
Guy Bentley, director of consumer freedom at the Reason Foundation, slammed the nicotine reduction plan, saying, “In practical terms, the proposal would ban most cigarettes currently sold in America. 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” — and would ultimately fail, he said, per the Washington Post.
The tobacco company Altria echoed, “We believe tobacco harm reduction is a better path forward. The 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. Today marks the start of a long-term process, which must be science-based and account for potentially serious unintended consequences.”
“Using any tobacco product can lead to nicotine addiction,” the Food and Drug Administration explains. “This is because nicotine can change the way the brain works, causing cravings for more of it. Some tobacco products, like cigarettes, are designed to deliver nicotine to the brain within seconds,1 making it easier to become dependent on nicotine and more difficult to quit. While nicotine naturally occurs in the tobacco plant itself, some tobacco products contain additives that may make it easier for your body to absorb more nicotine.”