Public/Global Health

Biden administration eyes reducing nicotine in cigarettes: report

Person smoking cigarette.

The Biden administration is considering multiple changes to U.S. regulations surrounding cigarettes, including lowering the amount of the addictive substance nicotine that is allowed to be present.

Multiple sources familiar with the administration’s discussions told The Wall Street Journal that administration officials are considering the nicotine reduction alongside a ban on the sale of menthol cigarettes, which are already banned in several countries and experts say contribute to youth smoking epidemics.

The Hill has reached out to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for comment on the discussions.

The changes, if implemented, would mirror policies considered by former FDA commissioner Scott Gotlieb that were put aside after he left office in 2019.

Gottlieb’s FDA took a hard-line stance against the rise of e-cigarette usage, particularly among young Americans, and threatened to pull all e-cigarettes off the market in early 2019. The agency eventually went ahead and banned all flavored e-cigarette sales other than tobacco and menthol flavors in stores.

The news of the FDA’s newest considerations was met with pushback from major cigarette manufacturers.

“Any action that the FDA takes must be based on science and evidence and must consider the real-world consequences of such actions, including the growth of an illicit market and the impact on hundreds of thousands of jobs from the farm to local stores across the country,” said a spokesperson for Altria, which owns Marlboro.

A spokesperson for Reynolds American Inc., owner of brands Newport and Camel, added that “there are better tools for improving public health” than pursuing lower nicotine levels in cigarettes.

Tags Cigarettes e-cigarettes FDA Nicotine Public health Scott Gottlieb Smoking

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