(Bloomberg) – US regulators beat beating plans to force tobacco companies to drastically reduce addictive nicotine in cigarettes, retreating from ambitious public health initiative, which comes with growing concern about nicotine use among young people .  The Ministry of Health and Social Services, according to a regulatory document published on Wednesday, abandoned the proposal presented two years ago to reduce nicotine levels in cigarettes for addictive substances
. would significantly reduce tobacco sales, it would be a big victory for the tobacco industry. This step also comes at a time when public debate focuses on the potential of electronic cigarettes to create a new generation of nicotine-dependent addicts.
Representatives for Nutrition and Drugs and the Department of Health and Human Services respond promptly to comment requests. Altria Group Inc., a manufacturer of Marlboro cigarettes, closed 3.2% in New York. Philip Morris International Inc. has changed little.
In a communication published earlier this year on the government's website under the short-term regulatory objectives of the Food and Drug Administration, the Agency stated that this policy "will have significant public health benefits for young people, young adults and adults, as well as potentially huge economic benefits. “
This objective, once it becomes part of the“ unified agenda ”of the regulations the government is working on, is no longer listed on the website. , which was updated on Wednesday as part of the six-month review.
FDA spokesman Michael Felberbaum said that removing plans "does not mean that the agency does not consider them a priority or continue to work on their development".  "The Agency focused on regulations that reflect its immediate priorities," Felberbaum said in an email. "The FDA continues to collect evidence and data for all tobacco products."
In 2017, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said he wanted to reduce the levels of nicotine in cigarettes and other burnt tobacco to near levels. -Zero. Nearly half a million people in the US die each year from tobacco-related causes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and this step was at that time welcomed as a potentially monumental public health decision. One estimate published in the New England Journal of Medicine could save 2.8 million lives and millions more by 2060.
“If the FDA abandons its plan to reduce nicotine in cigarettes, it will lack an unprecedented opportunity. improving health and saving lives, ”said Matthew Myers, president of the Tobacco Free Children Campaign Group.
The proposal also shocked Wall Street and sent out supplies of tobacco giants, including Altria, as investors reconsidered whether people would be bothered by smoking. cigarette without addictive chemicals. This step was paired with the decision – later inverted – to give e-cigarette manufacturers more time to keep their products on the market without regulation.
Gottlieb left the FDA before the nicotine policy could take effect. Altria later bought a $ 12.8 billion stake in Juul Labs Inc., the leader in e-cigarette market, which is a safeguard against the decline in smoking rates.
“Efforts to reduce nicotine in cigarettes are central to our efforts to reduce tobacco death and disease. “Gottlieb said in response to Bloomberg's request for comments. "It is very important that we all respect our commitments to these public health goals."
Another former FDA Commissioner, Robert Califf, on Twitter said the change marked "a sad day for future grandchildren." For this reason, they will have fewer elderly parents. “
Altria spokesman Steven Callahan declined to comment.
An update to the US regulatory program was released on the same morning as the Senate Panel considered the nomination of Texas oncologist Stephen Hahn. be the new head of the FDA. At this hearing, Hahn explored questions about the Agency's access to the electronic cigarette industry. This year, government data showed a sharp increase in the use of e-cigarettes in adolescents, and thousands of Americans have suffered severe lung damage after vaping.
The Trump government promised hard curbs on flavored vaping products in September. However, since then, the President has indicated any efforts to clean up the market for flavored products that are attractive to young people.
The FDA's surveillance of the tobacco industry was the result of a political battle that began in the 1990s and culminated in a 2009 law that supervised the agency with cigarettes and other smokeless products.
Recently, some administrative officials questioned the role of the FDA in tobacco regulation. Earlier this month, Joe Grogan, chairman of the White House Home Policy Council, called the FDA tobacco regulation a "huge waste of time" and said the agency should focus on medicines.
(Update to estimate the possible life saved in the ninth paragraph)
– With the help of Tiffany Kary.
Contact newsletter of this story: Drew Armstrong in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact editors responsible for this story: Drew Armstrong at email@example.com, Timothy Annett
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