"But the nicotine in cigarettes is not directly responsible for the cancer, lung disease, and heart disease that kill hundreds of thousands of Americans each year".
The FDA hopes to make smoking non-addictive, according to a new regulatory plan announced July 28.
The agency says the new plan isn't meant to simply snuff out a multi-billion dollar industry, but rather to encourage companies to develop innovative products that prove to be less unsafe than cigarettes.
The FDA also said it will take a look at menthol cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products created to appeal to youth, and the health impacts of smoking premium cigars.
Smoking has always been the leading cause of preventable premature death and illness in the U.S., and is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths a year. The agency said it may also regulate "kid-appealing flavors" in e-cigarettes and cigars and wants to encourage "new products that may be less risky than cigarettes".
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The FDA said it will consider a plan to cut the amount of nicotine in cigarettes to "non-addictive" levels.
Kenneth Warner, a retired University of MI public health professor who is a leading authority on smoking and health, said he was pleasantly surprised to learn of the FDA announcement. "It's taken a little while, but it seems the FDA is beginning to realize something the scientific community woke up to years ago: policies aimed at destroying the e-cigarette market actually would result in the unintended outcome of more smokers sticking with traditional combustible cigarettes".
US smoking rates have been falling for decades.
"This long delay will allow egregious, kid-friendly e-cigarettes and cigars, in flavors like gummy bear, cherry crush and banana smash, to stay on the market with little public health oversight", Myers said in a statement.
However, smoking in the United States is at an all-time low, with just 15 percent of adults still lighting up. Greatest reasons for a preventable ailment, which the FDA says is in charge of 480,000 passing's a year and also several billions of dollars in medical expenses and lost profitability.