FDA To Cut Nicotine in Cigarettes

Altria 2Q profit rises on higher cigarette prices beer

Donny and other researchers found that reducing nicotine substantially - by around 90 percent - leads to smokers being less dependent on cigarettes and smoking fewer of them.

The US government proposed cutting nicotine in cigarettes to "non-addictive" levels on Friday in a major regulatory shift created to move smokers toward potentially less harmful e-cigarettes.

The FDA doesn't have the power to reduce nicotine levels to zero or to ban cigarettes altogether.

Shares of another cigarette maker, British American Tobacco, fell. BAT completed Tuesday its $54.5 billion purchase of the 57.8 percent of Reynolds American Inc. that it didn't already own.

Wells Fargo Securities analyst Bonnie Herzog said the FDA "taking a more comprehensive approach toward nicotine was a natural next step".

Major tobacco producers saw their share prices tumble on Friday after United States health officials said they would explore ways to cut nicotine levels in cigarettes.

"We see this as an opportune entry point for long-term investors and would recommend building positions on today's broad weakness", Herzog said. Nicotine addiction is just one of the issues Gottlieb is juggling, next to prescription drugs and opioid addiction.

The policy would also apply to e-cigarettes.

Gottlieb said the FDA would consider regulating "kid-appealing flavors" in e-cigarettes and cigars, and possibly banning menthol in all tobacco products.

"We see this as an opportune entry point for long-term investors and would recommend building positions on today's broad weakness", Bonnie Herzog, an analyst at Wells Fargo Securities said in a research report, noting that the FDA is now reviewing IQOS, a product from Altria Group Inc and Philip Morris International that heats tobacco instead of burning it. Research has shown that when the cut is that dramatic, smokers do not generally compensate by smoking more. The agency intends to write rules that balance safety with e-cigarettes' role in helping smokers quit, FDA chairman Scott Gottlieb said. "This is just the USA regulator acting but we can easily see others, particularly in Europe, where regulatory pressures are already extremely high, following suit". "By dragging their feet, the FDA risks rolling back the incredible gains we have made to protect a new generation from a lifetime of disease - and eventual death - brought on by nicotine addiction and tobacco use".

Dr. Neal Benowitz, a professor at the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine, has had many discussions over the years with the F.D.A.'s tobacco chief, Mitchell Zeller, about trying to reduce the nicotine levels in tobacco. I mean, they can use, you know, nicotine patches and gum, but e-cigarettes might offer a really good alternative.

Recently, 22nd Century said it was entering the daunting FDA regulatory gantlet for reduced-risk nicotine products.

The FDA will release an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) to look input on the public health benefits or possible adverse effects of lowering nicotine levels in tobacco. "I view our opportunity to confront addiction to nicotine with the same obligation", he said. And, Rob, what is the FDA's rationale for wanting to lower the amount of nicotine in cigarettes?

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