FDA relaxes rules on nicotine gum

The announcement will allow producers of such products to change their labels to reflect the new FDA guidance. The idea is to ensure that people use the products, which have been found to reduce smoking.

“FDA hopes the recommended changes will allow more people to use these products effectively for smoking cessation and that tobacco dependence will decline in this country,” FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said in a statement.

The regulator attributes more than 440,000 deaths each year to tobacco use, and estimates 50 percent of all smokers that want to quit make at least one attempt per year.

The changes reflect decades of research that have found that while any product with nicotine can be addictive, the nicotine replacement therapy products sold over the counter do not appear to have significant potential for abuse or dependency.