Former FDA Chief Exhorts Agency to Lower Cigarette Nicotine Content

A former commissioner of the FDA urged the agency to use its new tobacco-regulation powers to lower nicotine levels in cigarettes to a sub-addicting level, the Washington Post reported June 17. 

David Kessler praised the FDA’s regulatory actions to date but called their impact “marginal” compared to the “200,000 to 300,000 lives a year” he said would be saved by regulating nicotine content. 

Nicotine levels should be reduced from 10 milligrams to 1 milligram per cigarette, Kessler said. 

“In the long term,” said Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, “you have to solve the addiction problem in order to solve the tobacco problem.”

Some critics said that lowering nicotine levels could actually lead smokers to use more cigarettes to get their desired dose of the drug.


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