TUESDAY, June 21, 2022 (HealthDay News)
A new rule that would require tobacco companies to reduce nicotine levels in cigarettes could be released by the Biden administration on Tuesday.
The rule, which would have an unprecedented effect on reducing smoking-related deaths, would be unveiled as part of a compilation of planned federal regulatory actions released twice a year, said a person with knowledge of the rule who spoke undercover. of anonymity. Washington Post.
The policy, which would reduce nicotine in cigarettes to minimal or non-addictive levels, would fit well with a major White House goal – to reduce cancer deaths. As part of the re-equipment moonshot cancer announced in February, President Joe Biden promised to reduce cancer death rates by 50% over the next quarter century.
About 480,000 Americans die each year from smoking-related causes, and tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death in the USA.
The announcement of the new rule would only be the first step in a long process, the Job reported. It could take at least a year for the US Food and Drug Administration, which regulates tobacco products, to release a proposed rule. After that, the FDA should sift through public comments before issuing a final rule.
Any opposition could delay or derail the effort — especially if the settlement isn’t completed before Biden leaves office. The tobacco industry, which is sure to fight the new measure, could also legally challenge any final regulations.
The Trump administration’s first FDA commissioner, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, once said he wanted to reduce nicotine levels as part of a broader smoke-free policy, and the agency take a first step in 2018 through the publication of an information gathering notice. But the idea was scrapped after Gottlieb left the administration in the spring of 2019, the Job reported.
“There’s a long arc in major policymaking, and the Biden administration’s commitment to moving that effort forward will mean it gets done,” Gottlieb told the Job.
Mitch Zeller, who recently retired as director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, acknowledged that it could take years for such a rule to take effect.
“The most important game-changing policies take a long time, but it is worth the wait because ultimately the only cigarettes that will be available will not be capable of creating addiction for future generations of kids,” Zeller said. say it Job.
Pat Folan directs the Northwell Center for Tobacco Control in Lake Success, NY. She believes that “this measure will have its most significant impact on young people trying cigarettes for the first time. With less nicotine, teenagers may not become addicted as quickly”.
On the other hand, switching to lower nicotine levels could backfire on older smokers, Folan said. They can simply increase their consumption by consuming more cigarettes per day.
Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, told the Job that reducing nicotine levels “would produce the biggest drop in cancer rates and make the biggest difference” of all the public health measures being discussed.
Nicotine, a chemical found naturally in the tobacco plant, does not cause cancer. But its highly addictive properties make it difficult for people to quit smoking, the smoke of which contains harmful ingredients that can cause lung cancer and heart disease.
Reynolds American, one of the nation’s largest tobacco companies, did not immediately respond to requests for comment, the Job said. Altria said it would comment after the administration officially announces any nicotine reduction plans.
A FDA funded studypublished in 2018 in the New England Journal of Medicinefound that reducing nicotine levels in cigarettes could save more than 8 million lives by the end of the century.
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THE SOURCE: Washington Post; Pat Folan, Director, Northwell Center for Tobacco Control, Lake Success, NY
By Robin Foster Health Day Reporter
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