Rapid changes needed

Rapid changes needed

July 31, 2018

A proposal in the US to lower the maximum amount of nicotine in legally available cigarettes to non-satisfying and non-addictive levels would cause deadly problems for years to come, according to Jeff Stier, a senior fellow at the Consumer Choice Center and a policy advisor to The Heartland Institute, writing at blog.heartland.org.

Stier described the Food and Drug Administration proposal as policy candy that provided public health groups with a head-rush, but he said that evidence was scant that it would help smokers quit. And he added that it would be a boon to the already-thriving black market for these highly addictive products.

Stier was writing on July 27, a day ahead of the one-year anniversary of the FDA’s announcement about what it called a “new comprehensive plan for tobacco and nicotine regulation” that “places nicotine, and the issue of addiction, at the center of the agency’s tobacco regulation efforts”.

‘When rolling out the multi-year plan, [FDA] Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said that “the overwhelming amount of death and disease attributable to tobacco is caused by addiction to cigarettes”,’ said Stier ‘Never was a more obvious statement more necessary, given the recent media hysteria over e-cigarettes.’

In his piece, Stier looks at the agency’s two-pronged approach to reduce smoking, the first of which involved a public dialogue about lowering nicotine levels in combustible cigarettes to non-addictive levels.

‘The second part of the plan voiced a commitment to reform regulations to foster innovation for both recreational (e-cigarettes) and medicinal (nicotine replacement therapy) products,’ he said. ‘This component of the plan gave hope to countless former smokers who are smoke-free today because of e-cigarettes.’

But, Stier said, FDA regulations already in force had put a freeze on innovation within this category. ‘And unless the FDA quickly makes regulatory changes, nearly all currently available e-cigarettes will be removed from the marketplace in just a few years,’ he warned.

Stier goes on to evaluate what the FDA has achieved one year into its plan.

Category: Breaking News

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