The FDA looks to lower nicotine in cigarettes

Published: Mar. 16, 2018 at 5:58 PM CDT
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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths per year. As a result, the Food and Drug Administration wants to make cigarettes less addictive by decreasing nicotine levels.

"It's all about public health and making people healthier. They are trying to get people off of things that are not good for them and off of addictive habits,” said Dr. Larry Gordon with Aspirus.

A recent study conducted by the New England Journal of Medicine shows dropping the level of nicotine will make it easier for people to give up smoking. It also lowers the chance of them becoming addictive.

"Currently, cigarettes contain one to two milligrams of nicotine,” said Jenna Otterholt from the Central Wisconsin Tobacco Free Coalition. “There is a discussion of lowering nicotine to a half of milligrams."

The proposal would require tobacco companies, like Philip Morris International and British American Tobacco, to slash the nicotine levels, as a result. But long-time Wausau resident, Edwin Withers, believes this move could potentially make users buy more.

"I would just buy more cigarettes rather than quit. It's already costly. I tried to quit a couple of times before, once for a period of 10 years."

However, the study shows that 5-million adult smokers would kick the habit within a year of nicotine becoming reduced. By the year 2100, more than 33-million Americans, mostly youth and young adults, would avoid becoming smokers altogether.

"Smoking is a horrible, nasty habit and it's hard to stop once you get started," said Edwin.