Apr 20, 2021 - Health

White House considers policy push to strip nicotine from cigarettes

Boxes of Marlboro cigarettes stacked

Photo: Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images

The White House is exploring whether to make tobacco companies reduce nicotine levels in cigarettes, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: The policy would make nicotine levels so low that cigarettes wouldn't be addictive, and wouldn't satisfy nicotine addiction — theoretically pushing smokers to buy less harmful tobacco products instead.

The big picture: Nicotine reduction has been on the Food and Drug Administration's radar for years, and could prevent nearly 8 million premature deaths, according to agency estimates.

  • What they're saying: "We advanced this major public health endeavor ... and the White House should secure this effort," former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb tweeted on Monday.

What's next: The FDA is also supposed to announce a decision by late April on whether to ban menthol tobacco products.

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