US FDA aims to cut nicotine in cigarettes, ease e-cigarette rules

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FDAToday the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said it is giving manufacturers of electronic cigarettes until August 8, 2022, to apply for approval of their products under regulations announced previous year, which were widely expected to drive most companies out of business.

Tobacco company shares plunged after the FDA announced the proposal.

The FDA also announced a plan to delay strict requirements that cigar and e-cigarette companies get regulatory approval for any products marketed after February 2007.

Neil Wilson of ETX Capital said it was "hard to overstate" what falling numbers of addicts and less frequent smoking could mean for corporate revenues. The idea is to make cigarettes less addictive for new smokers, but the policy is apt to hurt current smokers by forcing them to absorb more toxins and carcinogens along with their usual dose of nicotine. "Lowering nicotine levels could decrease the likelihood that future generations become addicted", the FDA said.

A critical component of the strategy, according to the FDA, is showing more awareness that nicotine reaches consumers through items that categorize a continuum of risk and is most harmful when delivered through smoke particles in combustible cigarettes. "Reducing nicotine doesn't make a cigarette safe, it just makes it less addictive", said Donny, director of Pitt's Center for the Evaluation of Nicotine in Cigarettes.

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Gottlieb said the FDA would consider regulating "kid-appealing flavors" in e-cigarettes and cigars, while possibly banning menthol in cigarettes.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration chief Scott Gottlieb on Friday directed the agency's staff to develop new regulations on nicotine.

The timing of the FDA's announcement raised eyebrows in the City as it came only three days after BAT completed the acquisition of the 57.8 per cent of Reynolds American it did not already own for $49.4 billlion.

E-cigarettes and vaping devices that were on the market in August 2016 won't be subject to review until 2021 or 2022, depending on the type of product.

Altria, the parent of Philip Morris USA, responded to the talk of targeting nicotine by saying in a statement that new rules must be "based on science and evidence, must not lead to unintended consequences and must be technically achievable". You have encouraged us in our mission - to provide quality news and watchdog journalism.

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