Thursday, March 30, 2023

Against addiction: less nicotine in cigarettes

DThe US government wants to reduce the amount of nicotine in cigarettes. As announced Tuesday, President Joe Biden supports a proposal from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that would require a maximum limit on psychoactive substances in cigarettes and other tobacco products.

Nicotine, found in the leaves of the tobacco plant and other nightshade plants, is considered a folk medicine. According to the HHS, approximately 480,000 Americans die prematurely each year from smoking-related diseases. Tobacco and nicotine are among the most common causes of so-called avoidable deaths. “Nicotine is a highly addictive substance. Making cigarettes and other tobacco products less or no addictive will help save lives,” said Robert Califf, cardiologist and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) spokesman. Especially young people should be protected from the addictive nicotine.

A way out of addiction?

In 2014, after an investigation, the United States Inspectorate of Health recommended reducing nicotine levels as a way to quit addiction. Four years later, the Food and Drug Administration announced a public debate on the issue. A study published in Spring 2018 in The New England Journal of Medicine showed that reducing nicotine levels would prevent approximately 33 million Americans from starting smoking by the year 2100. With this, 85 lakh lives will be saved.

Washington also raised this issue repeatedly. During the administration of former President Donald Trump, then-FDA chief Scott Gottlieb proposed stricter regulations for the tobacco industry. President Biden also supported the initiative. In 2016, during his time as Vice President, he launched the so-called Cancer Moonshot, an important project against cancer. Although smoking is lower in the United States than in Europe, according to the FDA, more than 12 percent of Americans regularly smoke cigarettes or other tobacco products.

While health organizations such as the American Lung Association have supported the US government’s call to reduce nicotine levels, the tobacco industry has repeatedly warned in recent years that the solutions are too simple. Contrary to scientific studies, the less nicotine in cigarettes, she said, does not lead to less consumption. Instead, the low nicotine content may prompt smokers to reach for cigarettes more often. Observers warn against too much optimism when it comes to the implementation of the “Cancer Moonshot” initiative. Even the implementation of the plan at the Food and Drug Administration took years. In addition, the US government has been threatened with a marathon of lawsuits from the tobacco industry.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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