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Could reducing nicotine in cigarettes help curb smoking?

03 August 2017

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has shaken things up in his 81 days on the job, proposing major policy shifts to ease regulations on some companies, such as in the way generic-drug applications are processed so that cheaper medicines can reach consumers faster.

"Because nicotine lives at the core of both the problem and the solution to the question of addiction, addressing the addictive levels of nicotine in combustible cigarettes must be part of the FDA's strategy for addressing the devastating, addiction crisis that is threatening American families", Gottlieb said.

It plans to reduce the amount of nicotine allowed in tobacco cigarettes to a level that will help curb addiction.

The FDA will also consider the role of menthol and other flavors in tobacco products.

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The FDA said one of its key findings in the plan is that nicotine is most harmful when delivered through smoke particles in combustible cigarettes.

The agency said it would "seek input from the public on a variety of significant topics", including approaches to regulating "kid-appealing flavours in e-cigarettes and cigars".

Robert West, a professor of health psychology at University College London, said the idea of gradually reducing nicotine from cigarettes looked attractive on the surface but may not work out, the Guardian reported.

A new plan for tobacco and nicotine regulation has been announced by the United States regulatory body, which could result in nicotine levels in cigarettes being lowered. But anti-smoking efforts seem to be working, at least in Arizona.

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Responsible for 480,000 deaths a year in the USA alone, tobacco remains the number one cause of preventable diseases and deaths in the country.

This effort is created to combat the fact that every day 2,500 young people smoke their first cigarette, with 90 percent of adult smokers having their first cigarette before the age of 18.

The announcement took a toll on traditional cigarette companies' stocks, according to reports by CBC News and the Washington Post.

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Could reducing nicotine in cigarettes help curb smoking?