The US government announced Friday a plan to reduce levels of smoking in the country that involves a new approach to the problem. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposes to reduce the level of nicotine in cigarettes in ways that mitigate its addictive effect. The actions of the big tobacco companies fell at noon abruptly after the announcement. This is the first time that regulation affects nicotine levels.
FDA director Scott Gottlieb refers to nicotine in the official statement as “the heart of the problem and at the same time the solution” to tobacco addiction. “The vast majority of deaths and diseases attributable to tobacco are caused by addiction; Is the only legal consumer product that, if used as expected, will kill half its consumers in the long run. ” He adds: “Unless we change course, 5.6 million young people will die prematurely from tobacco.”
According to FDA data, tobacco use causes 480,000 deaths a year and has a cost to society for medical expenses of 300 billion dollars a year
The plan has no date. This Friday’s announcement announces that these general indications will be finalized “soon.” The government plans to “open a dialogue” on how to reduce nicotine in tobacco to non-addictive levels. In its argument, the FDA says that 90% of smokers started before age 18 and that 2,500 young people each day smoke their first cigarette in the United States. Opening the dialogue seems a euphemism for what will be a tough negotiation in Washington with tobacco lobbies.
The new rules do not affect the current strategy, which in the future includes warning messages, ingredient lists, reports of actual and potential damages and the elimination of messages that tint the damage, such as light, soft and similar words. It also aims to look for “public information” to regulate “attractive tastes for young people.” One of the central elements of the new strategy is to study the influence of flavors on tobacco addiction.
The goal of the strategy change is also to push companies to focus more on the development of less harmful products than cigarettes, other ways to provide nicotine to “those adults who still need it.” That is why, he says, he extends until 2021 the deadline to adapt to the previous regulation, of 2016, so that companies can review their products.
The impact of the announcement of the Government was immediately felt in the quotation of the large tobacco companies. Altria (Marlboro) fell 19%, and British American Tobacco fell 14%. This last one had acquired the American Reynolds this year by 50,000 million dollars. According to Bloomberg, in his argumentation, he cited the “attractive” American market.