BBC News has reported that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in an effort to discourage nicotine levels and reduce the amount of smokers in the United States, plans to cut back the amount of nicotine levels allowed in tobacco products.
For decades tobacco has been one of the most heavily taxed and regulated products in the United States. But this is the first time in history that the FDA has sought to limit nicotine content in tobacco products. This move by the FDA, announced on Friday, represents one of the most sweeping of federal efforts to reduce smoking since Congress required in 1965 that cigarette packages include health warnings.
Stock market shares in tobacco has plummeted in the aftermath of the announcement. According to BBC News, shares in Altria dropped by up to 17%, British American Tobacco feel by approximately 11%, and Philip Morris dropped by 7%, before recovering from their losses. Moreover, Bloomberg has reported that the FDA’s move is likely to begin a robust lobbying effort in Washington, as well as pressure the industry to develop more low-risk technologies like vaping.
“The overwhelming amount of death and disease attributable to tobacco is caused by addiction to cigarettes – the only legal consumer product that, when used as intended, will kill half of all long-term users,” remarked Gottlieb, according to BBC News.
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb remarked to BBC that it’s reasonable for the federal government to begin regulating the nicotine content of tobacco products. However, as the Business Insider has reported, the agency made clear that the policy won’t impact current requirements for cigarettes and smokeless tobacco, but will only impact newly regulated products like cigars and e-cigarettes.
Public perceptions on smoking have drastically changed over the past several decades. The question that remains is: how troubled will Americans be upon hearing this news? Let us know what you think in the comments below.