(CBS Local) — In an effort to curb addiction, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is aiming to lower the amount of nicotine allowed in cigarettes. This is the first time the administration will attempt to regulate nicotine levels.
The FDA points to the 480,000 deaths each year in the United States caused by tobacco, saying it’s the leading cause in preventable diseases and deaths.
“The overwhelming amount of death and disease attributable to tobacco is caused by addiction to cigarettes — the only legal consumer product that, when used as intended, will kill half of all long-term users,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, via an FDA press release. “Unless we change course, 5.6 million young people alive today will die prematurely later in life from tobacco use.”
On top of lowering nicotine levels, the FDA says it plans to begin “public dialogue” on how to regulate “kid appealing flavors” in tobacco related products.
According to the FDA, 90 percent of smokers had their first cigarette before they turned 18 years old and 2,500 kids try their first cigarette every day. The FDA believes that these regulations will lead to less youth becoming addicted to tobacco products in the future.