On June 21st, the FDA announced plans for a proposed rule that would set a maximum amount of nicotine in cigarettes, reducing it to a minimally or non-addictive level. The proposed rule will be issued by May 2023, after which there will be an open comment period like the one going on now for the proposed rules on menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars. Public health organizations like the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids are encouraging the FDA to act swiftly and to extend the rule to cover all combustible products. While the timeline to see this rule come to fruition will likely be long, it would be an enormous step in the commercial tobacco control “endgame” and would mean huge gains in public health. As cited in the FDA press release, “a potential nicotine product standard could result in more than 33 million people not becoming regular smokers, a smoking rate of only 1.4%, and more than 8 million fewer people dying from tobacco-related illnesses.” This action follows the FDA’s initial plan to reduce nicotine in cigarettes announced in 2017.
More on the Endgame
Reducing nicotine levels in cigarettes and other combustible products would move the US towards a commercial tobacco control endgame by removing addiction as an element that sustains the tobacco epidemic.
Want to learn more about the “endgame”? Listen to our endgame podcast episode for an overview of the topic, and check out Action on Smoking and Health’s Tobacco Endgame Matters Podcast for some great deep dives with cities that have implemented their own endgame policies, from tobacco-free generation policies to banning all tobacco sales.