FDA Announces New Strategy To Make Cigarettes Less Addictive By Reducing Nicotine, Encouraging Alternatives.

NBC Nightly News (7/28, story 6, 1:40, Holt) reported that the Food and Drug Administration made “new moves…in the battle to get more people to kick the habit” by making “tobacco products less addictive by cutting the nicotine.”

The Washington Post (7/28, McGinley, Wan) reported in “To Your Health” that the effort “would be the first time the government has tried to get the Americans to quit cigarettes by reaching beyond warning labels or taxes to attacking the actual addictive substance inside.” The agency also “rolled out a second major announcement at the same time: It is delaying for several years a key regulation” that requires agency approval of e-cigarettes and cigars. FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb “said both actions are part of a comprehensive plan to eventually wean smokers off conventional cigarettes and steer them toward less harmful alternative forms of nicotine like vaping.” The article mentions research on low-nicotine cigarettes funded by the National Institutes of Health that conclude “that lower-nicotine cigarettes could indeed wean smokers of the habit and prompt them to quit.”

The New York Times (7/29, A13, Kaplan, Subscription Publication) reported that the regulations delayed by the FDA “could have removed many” e-cigarettes from the market. Now, the FDA’s new strategy “opened the door to endorsing e-cigarettes as a means to get smokers to quit.” In an interview, Dr. Gottlieb said, “We do think there’s a potential opportunity for e-cigarettes to be a lower-risk alternative to smokers who want to quit combustible cigarettes. We still have to figure out if they are a way to get people off combustible cigarettes. We don’t fully understand.”

The AP (7/28, Johnson) reported that under the new strategy, e-cigarette markers will have four more years “to comply with a review of products already on the market.” The FDA also “intends to write rules that balance safety with e-cigarettes’ role in helping smokers quit.” Dr. Gottlieb “said he has asked the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products to explore whether lowering nicotine could create a black market for higher nicotine products and what role e-cigarettes and other products play in reducing harm from smoking.” He “also wants new rules to address flavored tobacco products and kids.”

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