Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable heart disease, cancer and death in the United States, causing more than 480,000 deaths annually. These conditions also pose an excessive financial burden, with direct health care and lost productivity costs totaling almost $300 billion a year.
Wade pointed to a study published this month in the British Medical Journal, using data from the FDA's Tobacco Use Supplement to the Current Population Survey, which shows e-cigarettes contribute to significant increases in successful quit attempts across the country.
The US Food and Drug Administration will work to cut the amount of nicotine in cigarettes to non-addictive levels, with the goal of preventing thousands of tobacco-related deaths a year. "Envisioning a world where cigarettes would no longer create or sustain addiction, and where adults who still need or want nicotine could get it from alternative and less harmful sources, needs to be the cornerstone of our efforts - and we believe it's vital that we pursue this common ground".
Mr. Gottlieb said the FDA's new approach would consider "a continuum of risk for nicotine delivery", from combustible products such as cigarettes to nicotine-replacement therapies such as nicotine patches and gums.
But he added that the extension of e-cigarette deadlines "will allow egregious, kid-friendly e-cigarettes and cigars, in flavors like gummy bear, cherry crush and banana smash, to stay on the market with little public health oversight". The agency has had the power to do that since 2009 but it's the first time it's taken concrete steps to reduce nicotine in tobacco.
Until now, USA health officials have stuck with an abstinence-only message to the public. The FDA "intends to issue an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) to seek input on the potential public health benefits and any possible adverse effects of lowering nicotine in cigarettes". However, the tobacco industry is already experiencing the blow on the stock market.
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