I am late on this as I have been in the ACA repeal and then the CSR/Basic Health Plan rabbit hole. But there is some incredibly good public health news coming out of the Food and Drug Administration from last week. They are proposing a rule that will only allow non-addictive levels of nicotine in cigarettes.
The Food and Drug Administration said Friday it wants to reduce the nicotine in cigarettes to make them less addictive. The unexpected announcement sent shares of tobacco companies plummeting and sparked praise among some public health advocates.
If successful, the effort would be the first time the government has tried to get the Americans to quit cigarettes by reaching beyond warning labels or taxes to attacking the actual addictive substance inside…..
The goal is a harm minimization strategy. Lowering the nicotine level on cigarettes where the harm is from the combustion by products while allowing the addictive buzz to be delivered by vapor systems makes sense. It is a strategy where it acknowledges that people are addicted to nicotine and the goal is to reduce the side effects of maintaining that addiction. It falls into the same universe of strategies as needle exchange for heroin.
If this is successfully implemented, it is a massive public health win with significant impact on Medicare finances down the road. It would lead to a healthier population entering Medicare but that population would most likely stay on Medicare longer. This is good news as a starting point and it would be excellent news if it can actually be implemented.