Why is tobacco no longer regulated?

Cigarettes: Biden is considering regulation - less nicotine in butts

The team led by US President Joe Biden (78) is considering obliging tobacco companies to reduce the nicotine content in all cigarettes sold in the USA. Goal: Smoking should no longer be addictive.

The "Wall Street Journal" reports, citing government circles. A ban on menthol cigarettes, which the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will decide on April 29, is also under discussion. The White House and the FDA have so far refused to comment on the newspaper's request.

Nicotine itself does not cause cancer, heart or lung disease, according to the FDA. But it is addicting people to cigarettes, which are linked to 480,000 deaths in the United States each year.

By reducing nicotine levels to a minimum, the US government wants to encourage smokers to quit or switch to alternatives such as nicotine chewing gum, lozenges or e-cigarettes. The aim of a menthol ban would be that fewer young people would start smoking - for many, menthol cigarettes are the starting point. Both measures would take years to implement, writes the Wall Street Journal.

After the deliberations of the Biden administration became public, the shares of the Marlboro manufacturer Altria Group Inc. fell by more than six percent on Monday afternoon.
A company spokesperson: “Any action the FDA takes must be based on science and evidence and consider the real consequences of such action, including the growth of an illegal market and the impact on hundreds of thousands of jobs from farms to local businesses across the country . "

Lowering nicotine levels in cigarettes has been a topic of discussion within the FDA since the 1990s. This can be done, for example, by genetic engineering of tobacco plants or by removing nicotine from the leaf. In 2009, the Tobacco Control Act authorized the FDA to order such a change based on scientific evidence.