Joe Biden’s administration is considering requiring tobacco companies to lower the nicotine level of all cigarettes sold in the United States to levels considered non-addictive, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.
According to the New York newspaper, which cites “people familiar with the matter”, the Executive is thinking of raising this regulation as the deadline approaches when the Government must also reveal its intentions regarding the ban on menthol cigarettes.
Before next April 29, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must respond in court to a citizen petition to ban the sale of menthol tobacco products by announcing whether or not it intends to try to impose a law to that effect, and they are also considering limiting nicotine levels.
The rule that would address the amount of nicotine would aim to reduce nicotine to such low levels that it would lead to cigarettes no longer being addictive, with the goal of encouraging millions of tobacco addicts to quit smoking or switch to less harmful options, such as nicotine gum or e-cigarettes.
The ban on menthol products, on the other hand, would seek to prevent the younger population from starting to smoke.
The Wall Street Journal notes, however, that both measures would take years to implement, and would likely face numerous legal disputes.
The FDA commissioner under former President Donald Trump’s administration, Scott Gottlieb, also intended to try to implement these rules as part of an anti-smoking bill he proposed in 2017, but it was shelved when he left office in 2019.
While nicotine does not directly cause cancer or other lung diseases, the FDA notes that it creates an addiction to tobacco, a product that is linked to the deaths of about 480,000 people a year in the country.
The information revealed about the possibility of these measures being implemented led Altria Group, parent company of the Malboro brand, to fall more than 6% on Wall Street on Monday.