Published: Wed, August 02, 2017
Medical | By Garry George

US Proposed Cuts in Cigarette Nicotine Levels

US Proposed Cuts in Cigarette Nicotine Levels

Cigarette makers British American Tobacco plc (LON:BATS) and Imperial Brands plc (LON:IMB) fell to the bottom of the FTSE 100 as the US Food and Drug Administration announced tightened regulation on the industry created to move smokers towards potentially less harmful e-cigarettes. He told the Guardian that gradually eliminating nicotine "runs a serious risk of making things worse as smokers smoke cigarettes harder in order to get the nicotine they need, leading to more exposure to the harmful tar". The FDA wants smokers to switch to smokeless tobacco and e-cigarettes, as well, the Wall Street Journal reports.

In a June 16, 2010 press release, Dr. David Kessler, the former FDA Commissioner, recommended that "the FDA should quickly move to reduce nicotine levels in cigarettes to non-addictive levels".

The United States government has proposed a nicotine cut in cigarette to the levels which are considered "non-addictive".

Most big tobacco makers have long seen the writing on the wall and have invested in e-cigarettes and other alternative nicotine delivery systems, potentially mitigating the blow from any decline in cigarette sales. There is no "harmless cigarette" or "safe' smoking". Following up on that, the FDA has announced a regulatory plan that could shift the trajectory on tobacco-related disease and death.

Nicotine is found naturally in tobacco, but its affect is often exacerbated by cigarette companies altering the filters and paper to ensure maximum nicotine ingestion.

With almost 500,000 deaths attributed to tobacco use each year in the United States, the products are responsible for almost $300 billion in lost productivity and direct healthcare costs.

22nd Century Group Inc (NYSEMKT:XXII) and its cigarettes could be a game changer. The company has delivered a total of 22 million very low nicotine cigarettes under this NIDA contract. Altria, which makes Marlboro cigarettes, close 9.5% down.

'It doesn't read like the industry is destined to go up in smoke, ' he said. Again, 22nd Century looks uniquely poised to benefit from this potential mandate.

The surprising plan now is to compel the tobacco companies to reduce nicotine in their cigarettes. The approach places nicotine, and the issue of addiction, at the center of the agency's tobacco regulation efforts.

Public opinion had been turning against Big Tobacco. Approval of the application is expected late in 2017 and sets the stage for BRAND-A to become the first approved tobacco product on the market that complies with the new guidelines.

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