FDA plans to curb tobacco deaths with new regulation

Ninety percent of adult smokers began the habit before the age of 18.
Ninety percent of adult smokers began the habit before the age of 18. | File photo

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is creating new regulation on tobacco and nicotine to reduce disease and death brought on by tobacco use.

The federal agency reported that it plans to implement the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which will be geared toward protecting children from tobacco use. The FDA will also be seeking input on certain aspects of tobacco appeal, such as the role of flavors in the products.

“The overwhelming amount of death and disease attributable to tobacco is caused by addiction to cigarettes –  the only legal consumer product that, when used as intended, will kill half of all long-term users,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said. “Unless we change course, 5.6 million young people alive today will die prematurely later in life from tobacco use.”

The FDA intends to start a public dialogue on lowering nicotine levels in combustible cigarettes so that the products will have a non-addictive effect. Considering 90 percent of adult smokers began the habit before the age of 18, lowering nicotine levels could prevent many children from ever becoming addicted.

“This comprehensive plan and sweeping approach to tobacco and nicotine allows the FDA to apply the powerful tools given by Congress to achieve the most significant public health impact,” Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, said. “Public input on these complex issues will help ensure the agency has the proper science-based policies in place to meaningfully reduce the harms caused by tobacco use.”

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