If the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) decides to slash nicotine levels in cigarettes to make them less addictive, the decision may have unforeseen consequences, The New York Times reports.
The FDA said in June it would move toward reducing nicotine levels in cigarettes. The agency set May as its timetable for introducing a fully developed proposal. Many experts hope the agency will announce an immediate 95% reduction in nicotine levels – the amount studies have determined is most effective for helping smokers quit.
However, it could be years before any new policy takes effect, if the tobacco industry is not successful in quashing the proposal.
If the policy takes effect, it is unknown what the effect might be on the nation’s 30 million cigarette smokers. Some might be more likely to purchase full-nicotine brands illegally imported from Mexico and Canada. Others might use vaping, nicotine gum and other methods to help them deal with nicotine withdrawal, the article notes. Some smokers, including teens, could pair vaping or nicotine gum with low-nicotine cigarettes, which are as carcinogenic as regular cigarettes.