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FDA Wants To Reduce Cigarette Addiction By Cutting Nicotine

The agency will require tobacco companies to cut nicotine levels to reduce addictive qualities -- and hopefully prevent kids from taking up the habit.

Cigarette butt standing up after being stubbed out on a white and gray surface
Tobacco companies could soon be forced to reduce the amount of nicotine in cigarettes sold in the US.
Peter Dazeley/Getty

President Joe Biden's administration plans to limit nicotine levels in cigarettes sold in the US to make them less addictive, with the aim to lower the number of Americans who die from smoking and get fewer youths to pick up the habit.

To do so, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would set a maximum level of nicotine as a new standard that tobacco companies would need to meet when making cigarettes and other tobacco-related products, which could drop smoking rates from 12.4% today down to 1.4% by 2100, a 2018 research paper estimated.

The FDA didn't say when tobacco companies would need to comply. It could take at least a year for the agency to issue a proposed rule, as the Washington Post noted when it first reported the story, and the tobacco industry might challenge it in court. The FDA may also ban Juul Lab's popular e-cigarettes from being sold in the US.

In April, the US Food and Drug Administration proposed prohibiting the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars. It noted that more than 18.5 million Americans smoke menthols, roughly a third of the cigarettes sold in the US each year. 

The White House didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.