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The Biden Administration Takes Action to Limit the Amount of Nicotine in Tobacco Products

The Biden administration made a hint on Tuesday that it would create a proposed rule to set a maximum nicotine level in cigarettes and other tobacco products, thus reducing the quantity of nicotine in items that are sold in the US.

It is a move that no other government has made before, and if it were to be implemented, experts in public health think it would be transformative.

According to Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, “This is the first time there has ever been a genuine discussion with a commitment from the highest levels of government to fight tobacco in a way that is transformative.”

It actually will do more to reduce cancer, cardiovascular disease, and respiratory disease than any other collection of activities the government could take, transforming public health in the United States.

The FDA wants to outlaw flavoured cigars and menthol cigarettes.

As a part of the administration’s “unified agenda,” the new programme was announced. This list of anticipated federal regulatory measures is published twice a year.

According to the rule, efforts to minimise the amount of nicotine in tobacco products will lessen people’s addiction to smoking and improve their chances of successfully quitting. Reducing the nicotine content of these items would probably discourage people from starting to smoke.

“The primary cause of continued use of these goods is an addiction to the nicotine found in combusted products. In reality, more than half of adult smokers make a genuine attempt to stop each year (giving up cigarettes for at least a day), yet most of them fail because cigarettes are so addicting.

If proposed and subsequently approved following a careful review process, such a product standard would render those medications minimally- or non-addictive, “In a statement released on Tuesday, the US Food and Drug Administration said.

FDA Commissioner Dr Robert Califf noted in the statement that “nicotine is a highly addictive drug.” The risk that future generations of children will develop a cigarette addiction will be reduced, and more smokers who are now addicted to cigarettes will be assisted in quitting if nicotine levels are lowered to minimally addictive or non-addictive levels.

The highly addictive substance in tobacco products is nicotine. According to the FDA, the drug may alter how the brain functions, making users need more of it.

According to studies, when the amount of nicotine in cigarettes is decreased, people don’t appear to smoke more to make up for the lost nicotine. Studies demonstrate that cigarettes with reduced nicotine levels may also help with withdrawal symptoms.


As the FDA can now control all forms of nicotine, the vaping loophole is closed.

According to Dr Rose Marie Robertson, the deputy chief science officer of the American Heart Association, “if you don’t have high enough amounts of nicotine, it seems that you don’t trigger as strong as an addiction.”

I’ve treated patients in the past who had struggled with heroin and nicotine addiction at various points in their lives, and one of them claimed that quitting nicotine was considerably more difficult.

According to surveys, two-thirds of adolescent smokers desire to stop. Lowering nicotine levels might have a significant impact.

This has the potential to really produce a dramatic change in tobacco use, according to Robertson. “If we could keep them from becoming addicted in the first place, that would be good,” he said.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking-related illnesses claim the lives of over 480,000 Americans each year. In the US, it is the main avertable cause of death.

Although the number of smokers has drastically decreased over the past 15 years, over 12.5 per cent of US adults, or 30.8 million people, continued to smoke cigarettes as of 2020. According to the CDC, more than 16 million people suffer from a smoking-related illness.

According to an American Lung Association report, the US government fails to reduce cigarette use.

According to Erika Sward, the American Lung Association’s assistant vice president of national advocacy, “this is a significant step forward for public health.”

According to the FDA, lowering nicotine levels might stop more than 33 million people from starting to smoke regularly, help 5 million more people stop, and add 134 million years to people’s lives.

Not all smoking-related diseases would vanish even with low nicotine products. The hazardous substances that can lead to sickness are still present in low-nicotine cigarettes.
“Inhaling the smoke from combustion causes a lot of harm.

Low nicotine cigarettes nevertheless contain combustion smoke “explained Robertson. “Just because someone has low nicotine levels doesn’t mean they have low levels of anything else.”

According to a study, men aged 20 and older who vape have an increased risk of erectile dysfunction.

Therefore, Robertson added, there would still need to be a public health campaign to encourage individuals to quit. That could definitely be helped by reducing the nicotine amount.

According to experts, the restrictions won’t be implemented immediately, and there is no assurance that they will.

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The FDA must then publish a notice of proposed rulemaking by May 2023 so that the public can comment on it. At least a year could pass during that process.

It is, therefore “extremely likely,” according to analysts, that the tobacco corporations will file a lawsuit to prevent the rule from being implemented.

Myers and other tobacco specialists expressed optimism that the FDA and the Biden administration would act swiftly on this proposal.

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With tobacco, “we have seen how slow things can progress in various sectors and how many roadblocks may appear,” said Myers. “All we need to do is commit to making sure it gets done,”

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