( ENSPIRE News ) FDA Expands on Efforts to Fight Nicotine Addiction
ENSPIRE Contributor: Carlos Luciano
In July, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced its plans to regulate the tobacco industry by lowering nicotine levels in cigarettes. By lowering the amount of nicotine in these products the FDA continues its fight against tobacco addiction. The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, an act that allows the FDA to regulate the tobacco industry was signed by former President Barack Obama on June 22, 2009. The Center for Tobacco Products and the FDA have been educating the public on the risks of tobacco products with campaigns like ‘The Real Cost’ since February 2014. A campaign which is reportedly responsible for preventing an estimated 348,398 U.S. youths from picking up the habit of cigarette use. There are even some public health officials that claim that we could reach an age where tobacco use is a thing of the past. A bold statement for sure, but the sentiment should be commended.
FDA Commissioner and cancer survivor Scott Gottlieb says in the July press release, “Unless we change course, 5.6 million young people alive today will die prematurely later in life from tobacco use.” Surveys conducted by the Center for Disease Control, “In 2016, 20.2% of high school students (estimated 3.05 million) reported current use of any tobacco product. Among high school students, e-cigarettes were the most commonly used tobacco product (11.3% of current users),” with nearly 3,200 people age 18 or younger smoking their first cigarette each day. In response to the FDA’s July announcement shares for tobacco companies saw a dip in the stock market which may have echoed people’s doubt the industry could recover. Although, companies that have invested in electronic cigarettes and reduced risk alternatives openly expressed the least concern. Can an industry that kills over half its long-term users survive if its products are no longer addictive?