Nicotine use in the United States has changed throughout the decades. Restaurants used to have smoking and non-smoking sections. Cigarettes were allowed in bars and other public places. Tobacco and e-cigarette companies have used marketing techniques to make smoking more appealing to youth, which has led to an increase in nicotine usage.
Rules on where people can smoke and how tobacco and e-cigarette companies can market their products have become stricter over time. New nicotine regulations from the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) are trying to push that even further. Take a look at the dangers of nicotine and how the FDA is trying to prevent addiction.
The Dangers of Smoking
Smoking leads to many diseases and harms almost every part of your body. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), over 16 million Americans are living with a smoking-related disease. Diseases caused by smoking include:
- Heart disease
- Lung diseases
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), such as emphysema or chronic bronchitis
Smoking also increases the risk for certain eye diseases, tuberculosis and immune system issues such as rheumatoid arthritis. Cigarettes are responsible for more than 480,000 deaths in the United States each year, making nicotine the leading cause of preventable death. To put this in perspective, smoking causes more deaths than HIV, illegal drug use, alcohol use, car accidents and firearm-related incidents combined.
Secondhand smoke exposure is also dangerous. It accounts for about 41,000 deaths per year for non-smoking adults and around 400 deaths in infants. Children exposed to secondhand smoke are at risk for acute respiratory infections, sudden infant death syndrome, respiratory symptoms, slowed lung growth and severe asthma.
Is Vaping Also Dangerous?
E-cigarettes and vapes are very popular among young people, and more high school students smoke these than regular cigarettes. Usage has grown exponentially within the past few years. In 2011, only 1% of middle and high school girls and 2% of boys reported smoking e-cigarettes. But 2018 saw a big jump, with 19% of girls and 23% of boys in that age range reporting e-cigarette usage.
E-cigarettes come in a range of flavors, such as chocolate, candy and fruit. The sweeter taste can cause people to mistakenly believe vaping isn’t as dangerous as smoking a regular cigarette, but research proves otherwise. Vaping poses serious health risks to young people, such as long-term harm to respiratory health and brain development.
It’s still possible to get addicted to nicotine through vaping, and e-cigarettes have been reported to do even more damage to the body than regular cigarettes. Additionally, the aerosol that’s released from an e-cigarette has similar effects to secondhand smoke from cigarettes.
FDA Nicotine Regulation Changes
The nicotine 2022 regulation is the FDA’s attempt to reduce addiction to the substance. There are a few approaches the FDA is taking to curb nicotine usage.
Establish a Maximum Nicotine Level
The FDA announced it’s set to impose a maximum level of nicotine in cigarettes. The goal behind this is to reduce the addictiveness of cigarettes and other tobacco products, which will hopefully lead to a decrease in death, addiction and youth usage.
Nicotine is a highly addictive substance. The U.S. Surgeon General reported that 87% of adult smokers started before the age of 18, and half of adult smokers claim their addiction started even sooner. Although nicotine isn’t the most toxic ingredient in cigarettes, it’s what causes the addiction and makes quitting so much harder.
Setting a nicotine product standard would make these products virtually non-addictive, which has the potential to reduce the smoking rate to only 1.4% and prevent over 33 million people from becoming regular smokers by 2100. This can also lead to fewer smoking-related deaths and an overall healthier lifestyle for many people.
New Requirements for Non-Tobacco Nicotine Products
In April 2022, new requirements for non-tobacco nicotine products (NTN) went into effect that retailers, importers, manufacturers and distributors must comply with. These requirements are:
- Products can’t be sold to people under the age of 21, either in person or online.
- Products can’t be labeled as modified risk tobacco products for marketing purposes without FDA approval.
- Free samples of the products can’t be distributed.
Additionally, the owners and operators of establishments that engage with NTN products in any form must provide a list of the tobacco products prepared for commercial distribution. Pre-market applications must be submitted to the FDA for authorization by manufacturers that wish to market their products.
Any NIN product that doesn’t receive approval from the FDA can’t be legally marketed. This new FDA nicotine regulation aligns with the mission to protect youth from e-cigarettes and electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS). The FDA plans to continue updating the public on its ongoing regulation process.
What Power Does the FDA Have to Regulate Nicotine?
The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act was signed into law in 2009, granting the FDA power to regulate tobacco products. The FDA then established the Center for Tobacco Products (CTP). The CTP was granted the authority to:
- Require tobacco product manufacturers to register with the FDA
- Establish limits on the distribution and sale of tobacco products
- Establish standards for tobacco products, including tar and nicotine levels, as a way to reduce their addictiveness and toxicity
- Require new and modified risk tobacco products to be reviewed before hitting the market to protect public health
The CTP’s mission is to prevent Americans, especially youth, from taking up smoking, encourage current smokers to quit and decrease the harmful effects of tobacco products. With the rise of NIN products leading to an increase in youth smoking, these regulations are needed now more than ever.
Seek Help If Struggling With a Nicotine Addiction
A nicotine addiction is hard to kick. If you or a loved one is struggling to quit smoking, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Contact us at FHE today by calling (833) 596-3502 to speak with our team of dedicated counselors for valuable resources to stop smoking. A healthier and more fulfilling lifestyle is possible, and we can help you get there.