Tobacco stocks crushed as FDA targets nicotine in cigarettes

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British American Tobacco suffered a sharp sell-off in its shares in late trading after the US Food and Drug Aministration announced plans to cut the amount of nicotine in cigarettes.

In a report issued Friday morning, the FDA said it plans "to begin a public dialogue about lowering nicotine levels in combustible cigarettes to non-addictive levels".

The FDA's decision also extends the timeline for applications for new e-cigarette clearance by the FDA to August 8, 2022, giving e-cigarette companies more time to keep their products on the market before the agency tackles the process of final review.

For e-cigarettes, the agency extended the deadline by up to four years, and up to three years for cigar companies, to comply with a 2016 rule that gave the FDA oversight over the products, giving them more time on the market without regulation. "But the nicotine in cigarettes is not directly responsible for the cancer, lung disease, and heart disease that kill hundreds of thousands of Americans each year".

Some antismoking advocates and public health officials been urging the FDA and CDC to provide the public with information on the relative risks of tobacco products.

It is estimated that 36.5 million people in this country are cigarette smokers.

He also stressed the need to properly regulate products like electronic cigarettes, which can deliver nicotine without the harmful compounds found in tobacco smoke.

Tobacco causes the deaths of almost a half million Americans every year, according to the FDA.

Nicotine isn't the only cause of the diseases that come from smoking, but it is the chemical that hooks users because of the effects that it has on the brain.

The policy will also apply to e-cigarettes, which are also known as tobacco vaporisers. "We are well prepared and look forward to participating in a thorough process to develop a comprehensive plan for tobacco and nicotine regulation".

"The staggering measure of death and illness inferable from tobacco is caused by dependence on cigarettes -", FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in an announcement declaring the move.

By Friday evening in London, the slide in stocks was poised to wipe billions off the market value of the world's biggest tobacco producers, according to Thomson Reuters.

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