FDA Moves to Reduce Cigarette Nicotine Levels to Minimally or Non-Addictive Levels

On Thursday, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb announced regulatory plans to sharply decrease the amount of nicotine in combustible cigarettes to minimally or non-addictive levels. The ultimate goal of the FDA is a pivotal public health step to reduce the use of cigarettes by millions of regular smokers and prevent millions more from becoming regular smokers in the first place. This move comes as a part of the FDA’s broader comprehensive plan on tobacco and nicotine regulation that was announced last summer.

Thursday’s issuance of an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) regarding nicotine levels is one of the first concrete steps of the FDA’s outlined strategy in reducing and preventing tobacco-related deaths throughout the country. The ANPRM cites a wide range of scientific evidence showing the role nicotine plays in creating and sustaining addiction to cigarettes and seeks comments on key areas related to the development of cigarette product standards and maximum allowable nicotine levels in such products. While the FDA is signaling its progress in regulating nicotine levels through this action, no firm decisions have yet been made and many regulatory factors must still be considered.

The FDA is soliciting public and scientific commentary and feedback on the ANPRM related to nicotine standards through June 14, 2018. The full FDA proposal is available on the U.S. Federal Register.