The FDA Is Making Major Moves Against the Cigarette Industry

New study links smoking to an increased risk of hearing loss

Thursday's move, called an advance notice of proposed rule-making, is a first step in the complicated federal regulatory process.

The agency is asking for public comment on several aspects of the issue.

The Dartmouth researchers pulled data from a variety of national surveys of health and tobacco use to calculate how many years of life are gained or lost from e-cigarette use.

Smoking has fallen to an all-time low of only 15 percent of U.S.

The FDA was granted power to regulate tobacco in 2009.

FDA regulators estimate about 5 million more people would quit cigarettes within one year of new nicotine limits. If nicotine levels in cigarettes are reduced to minimal or non-addictive levels, it could help about five million adult smokers to quit within one year.

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"Despite years of aggressive efforts to tackle the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States, tobacco use-largely cigarette smoking-still kills more than 480,000 Americans every single year", FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement.

Nicotine is highly addictive, but it is not deadly by itself. "FDA is seeking information about the scope of a nicotine standard, a threshold nicotine level, the nature of implementation, analytical testing methods, technical achievability, and the possible creation of an illicit market".

"We're interested in public input on critical questions such as: what potential maximum nicotine level would be appropriate for the protection of public health?"

Matthew Myers, president of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, warned of the dangers of taking it too slow. Should a new standard be implemented all at once or gradually? He said the FDA should also ban menthol cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products, which are often more attractive to children because they mask the harsh taste.

The results showed that, even after taking into account factors such as noise exposure at work, current smokers had a 1.2 increased risk of developing low-frequency hearing loss, and a 1.6 increased risk of high-frequency hearing loss, when compared with never smokers.

'There does seem to be sufficient confidence now to be able to say that e-cigarettes pose a lower level of health risk to smokers than conventional smoking. It is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation which is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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