The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been leading the fight against the tobacco industry for a few years now. Tobacco is allegedly responsible for more than 480000 deaths per year. It’s therefore not totally surprising to learn that the agency announced it will lower the nicotine levels in cigarette packs in the US.
According to the agency, nicotine is responsible for the increase of tobacco use in the US. Decreasing nicotine content, which is an addictive substance, will thus lead to a decrease in tobacco use. The FDA hopes that this measure will lead to a steep decrease in the number of cigarettes smoked per day. As well as a decrease in the number of new smokers, especially among teenagers.
Big Tobacco reacted to this announcement by offering to invest 1 billion dollars in the anti-tobacco fight. Which was honestly really surprising. Will tobacco giants really get out of the lucrative tobacco market?
Many doubt this, including Tiddey and his team, whose studies were published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2015. His work proved that there was no clear link between the decrease of nicotine and the decrease of tobacco use. Searchers believe that cigarettes contain other addictive elements. And tobacco manufacturers could use them to make up for the reduction of nicotine and keep their turnover up and running.
Tobacco giants aim for a more positive image
Anti-tobacco organizations regret the positive but mistaken image tobacco manufacturers are building today. Indeed, they offer today « safer » alternatives to tobacco products such as the IQOS from Philip Morris. These heat sticks are actually as addictive as tobacco cigarettes because they contain nicotine. And their impact on health has not yet been assessed. For some searchers, they could actually been harmful for their users’ health.
The cordial arrangement between tobacco giants and anti-tobacco organizations will probably not last. And the birth of a tobacco-free generation in the US will not emerge overnight.