The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is in charge of public health in the US has recently created major turmoil by declaring it wanted to reduce nicotine content in cigarettes. This new recommendation which was made by Doctor Scott Gottlieb, the FDA commissionner, aims at reducing the addiction to cigarettes and fighting against tobacco use. Gottlieb actually considers that tobacco is “the only legal consumer product that, when used as intended, will kill half of all long-term users” and he attaches great importance in fighting against cigarettes. He hopes that even though cigarettes will remain a consumer product, they will no longer be considered as a drug.
While this annoucement came as quite a surprise with the FDA directly attacking nicotine -considered as the source of addiction- , it follows other recommendations such as increased taxation on cigarettes or preventive campaigns to fight against tobacco use. The FDA hopes it will be able to reduce tobacco use for the benefit of less harmful products such as electronic cigarettes, which won’t be regulated until 2022.
Tobacco manufactures such as Altria (Malboro), British American Tobacco or Vector Group do not have much room to negotiate. They’ve already seen their stock price go down as soon as the measure was announced, on July 28 2017. The international cigarette manufacturer not only fear that their sales will go down but that smokers will turn to the black market. The tobacco giants have no intention of giving up and will probably fight this measure in the months to come.