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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.

Go deeper

Misinformation is just one part of a vaccine trust problem

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

COVID-19 is the first major pandemic in the social media era — offering experts a rare opening to study the relationship between online misinformation and human behavior on a large scale.

Why it matters: As misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines runs rampant, researchers are trying to measure how much memes and messages with false information can alter someone's decision to get vaccinated.

27 mins ago - World

Israel's "change bloc" collapses, leaving Netanyahu in charge

Bennett (L) with Netanyahu in 2015. Photo: Gali Tibbon/AFP via Getty Images

In a dramatic shift that comes amid fighting in the Gaza strip and clashes between Jewish and Arab citizens in Israel, right-wing kingmaker Naftali Bennett has announced he will no longer seek an alternative government to oust Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Why it matters: Bennett had been on the verge of a power-sharing deal with centrist opposition leader Yair Lapid that would have made him prime minister for two years until Lapid rotated into the job. Without Bennett, Lapid has no path to a majority, and Israel will almost certainly head for its fifth election since 2019 with Netanyahu still in his post.

CDC says fully vaccinated people don't have to wear masks indoors

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky. Photo: Erin Clark-Pool/Getty Images

The CDC announced in new guidance Thursday that anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, regardless of crowd size.

What they're saying: "If you are fully vaccinated, you are protected, and you can start doing the things that you stopped doing because of the pandemic," CDC Director Rochelle Walensky will say at a White House press briefing.