The FDA is taking aim at your worst habit. The agency announced Thursday that it is setting in action a plan to severely limit the amount of nicotine allowed in cigarettes. At this point, you might as well quit.
The FDA hasn’t nailed down the exact details of its plan yet, NPR reports. But it seems on track to “developing a proposed product standard to make cigarettes minimally addictive or nonaddictive by setting a maximum nicotine level.” Tobacco use—mostly from cigarettes—is linked to 480,000 deaths in America every year.
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Right now, Camels, Lucky Strikes, and the rest have a nicotine level between 1.1 and 1.7 milligrams. Research supports limiting nicotine levels to 0.3 to 0.5 milligrams per cigarette. That’s a huge drop, big enough to get about 5 million people to quit smoking in one year, as well as prevent 33 million people from becoming smokers and stop 8 million tobacco-related deaths by the year 2100, the agency says.
Of course, stubborn smokers could work around this by smoking more cigarettes a day (expensive), inhaling smoke more deeply into their lungs (extreme), or turning to black market suppliers (dangerous). But for the casual Saturday-night-after-three-beers-outside-the-bar smokers, and for anyone who’s been seriously considering quitting, this could be the final push.
Or you could just start vaping.