The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced a plan to force tobacco companies to drastically reduce the amount of nicotine in cigarettes to make them less addictive and reduce the number of related illnesses and deaths. to smoking each year.
According to a document released Tuesday by the White House Budget Office, the rule would be designed to make it easier for current smokers to quit and to deter young people from taking up the habit.
The proposal comes as the US government is stepping up efforts in the fight against cancer-related deaths.
Canada is set to become the 1st country to add warnings on individual cigarettes
Earlier this year, the Biden administration announced plans to reduce the cancer death rate by at least 50% over the next 25 years.
Smoking and exposure to tobacco smoke cause approximately 480,000 premature deaths each year in the United States, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Canadian Lung Association says approximately 48,000 Canadians die each year from smoking, while countless more live with chronic illnesses caused by smoking.
According to recent estimates from the Lung Association, tobacco use in Canada is about 15% of the population.
Canada is about to become the first country in the world to require a warning to be printed on every cigarette.
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The move builds on Canada’s mandate to include graphic photo warnings on tobacco product packaging – a groundbreaking policy that started an international trend when it was introduced two decades ago.
“We have to respond to the fear that these messages have lost their novelty, and to some extent we are concerned that they have also lost their impact,” Addictions Minister Carolyn Bennett said at a press conference earlier. this month.
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Tobacco companies south of the border did not respond positively to Tuesday’s news, saying ‘tobacco harm reduction’, or nudging smokers into products such as e-cigarettes, would be more helpful than reducing nicotine levels in traditional cigarettes.
“Tobacco harm reduction is the best way forward to reduce the health effects of smoking,” said Dr. Aaron Williams, senior vice president, scientific and regulatory affairs at RAI Services Co., the company in charge regulatory compliance for RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co. .
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Marlboro maker Altria Group Inc. said the government should focus less on removing products from adult smokers and “more on providing them with…lower-risk FDA-cleared smoke-free products.”
The US rule, expected in May next year, would likely take many years to implement, analysts told Reuters. They said tobacco companies would likely challenge the rule and there would be a need to assess the risk of people smoking more with lower levels of nicotine per cigarette.
— With files from Reuters and The Canadian Press
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