Biden likely push towards non-addictive nicotine level in fight against cancer


The Biden administration is likely to take an initiative to make it mandatory for tobacco companies to reduce nicotine to non-addictive levels, that would be a giant leap toward controlling cancer and also deal a body blow to the billion dollars tobacco industry.

The road to saving a million lives in America and possibly globally could take years to come into effect as the tobacco industry is most likely to throw punches at the attempt, including litigation, and any change of guard in the administration sympathetic towards the tobacco lobby could stall the process altogether, which is why the reaction to the possibility of such a decision has been kept low key.

Nicotine in the chemical responsible for getting humans addicted to the tobacco products for the apparent release of tension and stress that it provides, but ultimately leads to diseases such as cancer, a host of cardiac ailments, stroke lung diseases, diabetes and others.

The United States currently has 13.7 percent adults who are cigarette smokers, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Though the numbers have been on the decline with vaping emerging as an alternate to smoking, though its safety is debatable, the US still records 480,000 tobacco-related deaths annually.

According to figures provided by the CDC, the total economic cost of smoking is more than $300 billion a year, that includes more than $225 billion spent in direct medical care for adults. The loss in productivity because of tobacco-related premature deaths and exposure to secondhand smoke is estimated to be around $156 billion.

In 2017, the former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb had mooted the idea to take steps towards bringing down nicotine to non-addictive levels. A year later, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, revealed that “reduced-nicotine cigarettes versus standard-nicotine cigarettes reduced nicotine exposure and dependence and the number of cigarettes smoked.”

The tobacco industry, however, had rejected the findings.

The FDA had found that if the policy were to be implemented in 2020, eight million deaths could be prevented by the year 2100.

For the policy to come into effect, the FDA would have to frame the rules and make it public.