FDA plans to make tobacco products less addictive and harmful

29 Jul 2017 | By Vaneet Randhawa
War against tobacco

For the first time in history, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has moved to restrict nicotine content in tobacco products.

The FDA claimed that tobacco was responsible for "480,000 American deaths each year, and $300bn (£228bn) in medical costs".

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said the intent was to make cigarettes least addictive and decrease the quantity of the harmful and addictive chemical.

In context: War against tobacco

Increasing addictionHow cigarettes are made more addictive?

A report by Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids revealed that tobacco companies, of late, have started making adjustments so that cigarettes become more addictive.

They increase the nicotine to create and sustain addiction.

Ammonia compounds are added which enhance the speed with which nicotine kicks the brain.

When burnt, cigarettes produce acetaldehyde, a "cancer-causing chemical that enhances nicotine's addictive effects".

Quitting tobaccoNicotine abstinence and relapse

Highlighting the nicotine addiction, WHO revealed that while 70% of US smokers wished to quit smoking, only 1% successfully manage to do so.

Amongst the quitters, only 1/3 of them remained abstinent after 2 days, and less than 1 after a month.

The relapse statistics were even more shocking: it claimed that amongst people who faced life threatening diseases, only half quit smoking.

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29 Jul 2017FDA plans to make tobacco products less addictive and harmful

5.6 million people in danger because of tobacco use

FDA revealed that if adequate measures weren't taken then "5.6 million young people alive today will die prematurely" later in life from tobacco use.
The announcement leads to cigarette company shares falling

29 Jul 2017The announcement leads to cigarette company shares falling

After the FDA news became public, the stock market shares of tobacco nosedived.

The shares in Altria plummeted by up to 17% on the New York Stock Exchange.

The shares of British American Tobacco's stock fell by 11%, and Philip Morris fell by 7%.

British American Tobacco (BAT), said this will provoke the tobacco industry to innovate while using less nicotine.

29 Jul 2017Sceptics feel this may lead to increased smoking

While many people hailed FDA's move to reduce addiction through tobacco, others felt this may actually increase smoking.

Some believed that reducing the nicotine levels in cigarettes may lead to more smoking as "more cigarettes will be required to get that desired nicotine hit".

The rule will also affect cigar and e-cigarette companies that have time upto August 2021 and 2022 respectively to comply.