Jul 28, 2017

FDA wants nicotine in cigarettes cut to non-addictive levels

Bobby Caina Calvan / AP

In a surprise move, the Food and Drug Administration announced today that it plans to begin lowering nicotine levels in cigarettes to levels considered non-addictive, as it pegged tobacco use as "the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States."

From FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb: "The overwhelming amount of death and disease attributable to tobacco is caused by addiction to cigarettes — the only legal consumer product that, when used as intended, will kill half of all long-term users."

Why it matters: It's a huge public health move — and one that could serve as the death knell to the tobacco industry. Per Bloomberg, stock for the Altria Group, Philip Morris' parent company, had dropped as much as 19% this morning while British American Tobacco had plunged 11%.

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The polarized pandemic election

A Trump supporter protests Pennsylvania's stay-at-home order, during a May 15 rally outside the Capitol in Harrisburg. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

President Trump is going all-in on pushing for a rapid, robust return to normal life, creating a visual, visceral contrast with Joe Biden and other Democrats who are more reticent to rip the masks off.

The state of play: Business friends have been urging Trump from the beginning to keep the lockdowns short. He's listening more and more.

Tech's long hot summer of antitrust

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Google, Facebook and other tech giants face a summer of regulatory grilling as long-running investigations into potential anticompetitive practices likely come to a head.

The big picture: Probes into the power of Big Tech launched by federal and state authorities are turning a year old, and observers expect action in the form of formal lawsuits and potentially damning reports — even as the companies have become a lifeline for Americans during the pandemic lockdown.

Palantir CEO hits Silicon Valley "monoculture," may leave California

Palantir is "getting close" to a decision on whether to move the company out of California, CEO Alex Karp said in an interview for "Axios on HBO."

The state of play: "We haven't picked a place yet, but it's going to be closer to the East Coast than the West Coast. ... If I had to guess, I would guess something like Colorado."