Earlier today, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) revealed a plan to regulate tobacco production by stripping cigarettes their highly-addictive nicotine properties to nonaddictive levels.
FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb has noted how he and his organization are “at a crossroads when it comes to addressing nicotine addiction and smoking in this country.” He has called for a “wide-ranging review the current scientific understanding about the role nicotine plays in creating or sustaining addiction to cigarettes.”
In doing so, Gottlieb has effectively initiated a public debate on exactly what level nicotine would be sufficient to protect the public’s health, as well as whether or not this plan should be carried out all at once or gradually. He is also curious as to whether or not smokers will consume more cigarettes because lower nicotine levels, or result to contraband tobacco if all else fails.
Gottlieb has announced that he will explore “a product standard” in order to lower nicotine levels below what is necessary to become dependent on the highly-addictive stimulant.
Cigarette-related illnesses account for nearly half a million deaths in the U.S. annually, a figure that Gottlieb hopes to curb by placing new sanctions on the manufacturing tobacco.