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Embracing Harm Reduction, FDA Gives E-Cigarette Industry a Regulatory Reprieve
29 July 2017, 12:12 | Cedric Leonard
The FDA said it plans to'begin a public dialogue about lowering nicotine to non-addictive levels
The FDA also announced plans to issue new regulations for products like cigars, pipe tobacco, and e-cigarettes.
Shares of the Dunhill and Lucky Strike maker slumped by nearly 7 per cent, losing 362p to £49.60, while Imperial Brands dropped 3.7 per cent to £33.98 after the FDA said it was pursuing a "comprehensive regulatory plan" to lower nicotine in cigarettes to non-addictive levels.
USA smoking rates have been falling for decades. This is the first time the administration will attempt to regulate nicotine levels.
In addition to providing regulatory relief for the e-cigarette industry, the FDA will be investigating the possibility of mandating a gradual reduction in the nicotine levels of combustible cigarettes.
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb outlined a package of measures the agency plans to explore, embracing the idea that e-cigarettes may benefit public health by reducing smoking rates.
Cigarettes may be on the road to having less nicotine in order to make them less addictive.
Mr. Gottlieb said the agency would look at regulation to "render cigarettes minimally addictive".
The FDA's shift comes as the agency considers whether to approve new marketing claims for new heat-not-burn devices, smokeless tobacco and other products.
Kenneth Warner, a retired University of MI public health professor who is a leading authority on smoking and health, said he was pleasantly surprised to learn of the FDA announcement.
Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids president Matthew Myers praised the overall approach as "a bold and comprehensive vision" but called the e-cigarettes delay "a serious error".
He also stressed the need to properly regulate products like electronic cigarettes, which can deliver nicotine without the harmful compounds found in tobacco smoke.
But he added that the extension of e-cigarette deadlines "will allow egregious, kid-friendly e-cigarettes and cigars, in flavors like gummy bear, cherry crush and banana smash, to stay on the market with little public health oversight".
The news was not just a concern for the USA market, he added.
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