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President Trump's FDA Chief Just Went After Cigarette Companies In A Big Way

President Trump's FDA Chief Just Went After Cigarette Companies In A Big Way
Updated 2 months ago

Current FDA head Scott Gottleib has taken a significant stand against cigarette companies. The FDA has proposed reducing levels of nicotine, the addictive agent in tobacco products, to negligible, non-addictive levels.

Gottlieb said in a statement:

Cigarettes are the only legal consumer product that, when used as intended, will kill half of all its long-term users.

Gottlieb said the intent was to lower U.S. smoking rates from 15% to 1.4%, so tobacco companies are likely to fight the new regulations. Previous attempts to curb smoking have been largely ineffective, with still nearly half a million deaths per year.

Desmond Jenson, an attorney at the Public Law Health Center, said:

Cigarettes have no place in society any longer. If cigarettes were invented today, no country in the world would allow them to be sold.

To be clear, this isn't an immediate change but an "advanced notice of proposed rulemaking," which means that any regulation would take time.

On the heels of the announcement, the New England Journal of Medicine put out a public health report on the possible effects of the nicotine reduction. With today's nicotine levels and anti-smoking programs, they projected that in 2100, 8% of adults would use tobacco products. With the new regulation limiting nicotine, they projected 2% on the same timeline.

The tobacco industry has a history of resisting regulation. In 2011, a proposal to package cigarettes with images of cancerous lungs was defeated in court. In 2006, a U.S. District Court found that cigarette companies had enjoyed "a massive 50-year scheme to defraud the public" about the health risks of smoking.

Anti-smoking advocates immediately hailed the effort as long overdue:

Smokers and skeptics trotted out a very specific rebuttal:

The intent of the proposed regulations is to dissuade people from becoming smokes, rather than altering smokers' habits.

H/T: Mashable