The FDA released a statement in July announcing its plan for tobacco and nicotine regulation that included a lower-nicotine cigarette in the U.S.
The goal of a lower-nicotine cigarette is to minimize the level of addiction. To do this the nicotine levels must be lower than the amount that would cause any physiological reaction - this sounds like a great idea, however, the obvious issue is that lower nicotine levels do not prevent the inhalation of all the other harmful chemicals in the cigarette.
Even with that issue, Scott Gottlieb (FDA Commissioner) stated that, according to FDA estimates, approximately 8 million smoking-related deaths could be prevented should nicotine be reduced in combustible cigarettes.
The estimates also indicate that around 30 million potential smokers could avoid addiction.
One possibility is that a reduction in nicotine levels in cigarettes could cause more smokers to switch to e-cigarettes to get their nicotine, which could benefit their health even further by decreasing the number of harmful chemicals they're inhaling.
These are very positive numbers and we can only hope that they become a reality. Although, for now, there are 5.4 million smokers in Canada that are addicted to, not just the nicotine, but the habits that form alongside the nicotine addiction - and these habits are hard to break!
Who knows, if the U.S. sees success with this change, perhaps Canada will follow suit.
It will certainly be interesting to see how the e-cigarette industry will be affected by the reduction in nicotine. We will keep you updated!