Earlier this month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration proposed regulations that would establish a maximum nicotine level for cigarettes and other tobacco products. By requiring companies to reduce nicotine in cigarettes to non-addictive levels, the regulation would be one of the most significant efforts to reduce smoking in the U.S. in decades and would deal a significant blow to the $95 billion tobacco industry.
“Nicotine is powerfully addictive,” Robert Califf, commissioner of the FDA, said in a statement. “Lowering nicotine levels to minimally addictive or non-addictive levels would decrease the likelihood that future generations of young people become addicted to cigarettes and help more currently addicted smokers to quit.”
The FDA has stated its intent to issue the rule by May 2023, but the process of adopting a rule like this requires a years-long process of public comments and courtroom action. Richard Daynard, Northeastern distinguished professor of law, anticipates the proposal will become law by 2027, but he says the tobacco industry will not go down without a fight. “They ain’t gonna like it,” Daynard says of the cigarette companies.