Sources confirmed that more than 4,29,500 boys and 1,95,500 girls in this country smoke cigarette each day.
Federal health officials took the first step Thursday to slash levels of addictive nicotine in cigarettes, an unprecedented move created to help smokers quit and prevent future generations from getting hooked. "And this bold plan is, let's change it in the other direction, reduce nicotine so it's less addictive". "As part of our comprehensive plan on tobacco and nicotine regulation announced last summer, we're issuing an advance notice of proposed rulemaking to explore a product standard to lower nicotine in cigarettes to minimally or non-addictive levels", saod the Commissioner in a statement.
Anti-smoking activists applauded Thursday's action but said FDA should set a deadline to put regulations in place.
According to the FDA, cutting nicotine to 0.5 milligrams or less would help about 5 million adult smokers quit within a year, and prevent more than 33 million other people from becoming addicted smokers by 2100.
Tobacco use is the single largest preventable cause of death and disease in the country.
Low-nicotine cigarettes are not a new idea and several companies, including Philip Morris, experimented with selling the products in the US during the 1980s and 1990s, without much success. The public now has 90 days to comment on questions about the proposal and what level the upper limit should be.
The FDA gained authority to regulate ingredients in cigarettes and other tobacco products in 2009.
The FDA didn't give a sense of how long the regulatory process will ultimately take.
The FDA has sponsored several recent studies showing that when smokers switch to very low nicotine cigarettes they smoke less and are more likely to try quitting. The FDA is now reviewing the iQOS application.
The possible acceptance of reduced-risk products makes the FDA's announcement a mixed bag for Big Tobacco.
The FDA will continue to take enforcement actions against companies that inappropriately target children, including through the promotion of e-cigarettes, Gottlieb said. "The government does have a responsibility to help keep Americans healthier and whatever laws they enact to help people cut down and quit smoking is going to help everybody", said Le.