FDA cuts nicotine in cigarettes for a long time | Editorials


The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday made a decision of rare importance, concerning not a pandemic disease but the main cause of preventable death in the country: smoking. It is crucial that the White House champion what would be the FDA’s most assertive anti-smoking policy – a policy that will inevitably meet with strong resistance.

The agency is preparing a rule that would require tobacco companies to drastically reduce the amount of nicotine in cigarettes sold in the United States, making their lethal products minimally or not at all addictive. This decision was long anticipated: Congress in 2009 gave the FDA broad powers to regulate tobacco products. The agency began exploring this policy in 2017, and it should have made full use of its powers before now. It has to move fast. About half a million Americans die each year from smoking-related illnesses; any further delay would mean more unnecessary suffering and death.

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