July 20, 2018

Reed, Whitehouse Write in Support of Lowering Nicotine Levels in Cigarettes

Providence, RI – U.S. Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) joined Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and eleven other Democratic colleagues to submit comments in support of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) recent initiative to reduce the level of nicotine in cigarettes to non-addictive or minimally addictive levels. 

In the comment letter, the senators encouraged the FDA to expand the initiative to include other tobacco products that serve as a substitute for cigarettes.

“FDA’s own estimates found that reducing nicotine levels in cigarettes could prevent tens of millions of individuals from ever becoming smokers and save eight million lives by the end of the century.  Over the next five years alone, a nicotine product standard would help 13 million people quit smoking altogether,” the senators write in the letter to FDA Commissioner Gottlieb.  “However, to fully realize the potentially monumental benefits of reducing nicotine levels, we urge FDA to apply product standards reducing the nicotine level not only to cigarettes, but also to other combustible tobacco products that could serve as substitutes to cigarettes, including all forms of cigar products.”

The senators also urged FDA to implement this initiative as quickly as possible, as the FDA previously delayed important tobacco regulations.  The letter requests that the FDA issue a final rule by March 2019 followed by a full implementation of the rule by March 2020. 

“FDA must move forward on reducing nicotine levels as expeditiously as possible. We have been concerned by FDA’s delay in oversight of newly-regulated tobacco products and want to ensure that this initiative, given its life-saving potential, is not unnecessarily delayed, while further ensuring that insufficient oversight of other tobacco products does not continue,” the senators write.

The full text of the letter is available here.


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