FDA Planning to Regulate Nicotine Levels

    Image copyright: AFP/Getty Images [via The Washington Post]

    The Facts

    • The FDA is planning to establish a maximum nicotine level to make cigarettes and other tobacco products less addictive, according to a notice published on a US govt. website on Tues.

    • By reducing the amount of nicotine, and in turn the addictiveness of tobacco products, the FDA hopes to make it easier for users to quit and reduce their exposure to toxins.

    The Spin

    Right narrative

    What are we doing, going back to Prohibition? Consumers should be free to make their own decisions, and this nicotine reduction would amount to a ban on most cigarettes sold in the US. This proposal isn't the answer, a focus on giving consumers the option of reduced-harm, smoke-free products is the way to go.

    Left narrative

    Anything that gets substantial numbers of people to quit tobacco entirely should be adopted, and this rule could go a long way towards that goal. Opponents are sure to characterize this as a ban, but it's just a way to discourage the use of the deadliest nicotine products – a proposal the White House should stand up for.

    Cynical narrative

    Committing to all low-nicotine smokes could bring unintended consequences like black market sales of products with higher levels of nicotine, more organized crime, and more policing. The govt.'s research on how much smoking will be reduced by a plan like this is sketchy.

    Political split



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