Not-too-busy Biden admin looks to add nicotine limits on cigarettes

One might think that President Biden has his hands full dealing with the growing number of crises his administration is facing — in large part because of his failed policies — but the president is apparently not too busy to go after Big Tobacco.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced on Tuesday a plan to propose a rule to establish a maximum nicotine level in cigarettes and other finished tobacco products in an attempt to make them less addictive, according to the Daily Mail, which reported that the rule is expected in May 2023 and “would be designed with the goal of making it easier for tobacco users to quit and help prevent youth from becoming regular smokers.”

“Nicotine is powerfully addictive,” FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf said in a statement. “Making cigarettes and other combusted tobacco products minimally addictive or non-addictive would help save lives. The U.S. Surgeon General has reported that 87 percent of adult smokers start smoking before age 18, and about two-thirds of adult daily smokers began smoking daily by 18 years of age. Lowering nicotine levels to minimally addictive or non-addictive levels would decrease the likelihood that future generations of young people become addicted to cigarettes and help more currently addicted smokers to quit.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. smoking has declined from 20.9% of adults in 2005 to 12.5% of adults in 2020.

With 40-year high inflation, record-high gas prices, the threat of a recession, ongoing war in Eastern Europe, and a quarter million illegal immigrants swarming across the southern border with Mexico every month, not to mention a supply chain crisis that includes baby formula and even tampons, why not add nicotine to the mix? This coming after the FDA recently proposed rules banning menthol cigarettes — which are reportedly heavily favored by black smokers.

The FDA said in its release that tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States, with 480,000 people dying prematurely from a smoking-attributed disease every year. Tobacco use also “costs nearly $300 billion a year in direct health care and lost productivity,” the agency added.

“While nicotine is not what makes smoking cigarettes so toxic, it’s the ingredient that makes it very hard to quit smoking.” the statement said. “Addiction to nicotine in combusted products is the main driver of sustained use of these products. In fact, more than half of adult cigarette smokers make a serious quit attempt each year (quitting for at least a day), but most do not succeed due to the addictive nature of cigarettes. Such a product standard, if proposed and then finalized after a thorough process, would make those products minimally- or non-addictive.”

Of course, a quote from C.S. Lewis may be applicable here: “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”


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Tom Tillison


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