Politics

WSJ report: Biden Administration seeking to slash nicotine levels in cigarettes

According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, the Biden administration to currently working on new rules that would force tobacco companies to reduce the amount of nicotine in all cigarettes sold in the US. The regulation would take several years to establish before going into effect.

Nicotine is an addictive chemical found in cigarettes and other tobacco products. The FDA began a wideranging review of tobacco and nicotine regulation in 2017 in a bid to tackle addiction, protect young people and help smokers to quit.

Cigarette smoking is a leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. The CDC estimates that nearly 480,000 premature deaths can be attributed to tobacco abuse in the US every year, with an additional 41,000 deaths caused by secondhand smoke inhalation.

While many health effects are attributed to nicotine, other compounds usually found in tobacco products include tar, carbon monoxide, toluene, and many others.

In the U.S. each day, about 1,600 youths smoke their first cigarette and nearly 200 start smoking every day, per the CDC. They found that flavored tobacco products are popular with young people.

The FDA has been focusing on lowering nicotine levels since the 1990s as it attempts to crack down on cigarette sales to minors, but the Supreme Court had found the FDA wasn’t permitted to do so at the time.

In 2009, the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act gave the FDA the authority to regulate the manufacture, distribution, and marketing of tobacco products including lowering nicotine levels, based on scientific evidence.

The FDA also proposed a ban in April on menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars that aimed to stop young people taking up and significantly reduce tobacco-related diseases and deaths. The administration is also reviewing the sale and use of e-cigarettes.

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: THE TIMES

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