The Biden administration prepares to strike smokers. According to The Wall Street Journal, they want to limit the nicotine content of cigarettes to a level that is not addictive
It is this provision that will supplement the document on the widespread ban of menthol cigarettes in America, which the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is preparing for consideration. Whether this will affect Russian tobacco consumers and who benefits from it, we discussed with experts.
The Biden administration prepares to strike smokers. According to The Wall Street Journal, they want to limit the nicotine content of cigarettes to a level that is not addictive. It is this provision that will supplement the document on the widespread ban of menthol cigarettes in America, which the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is preparing for consideration. Whether this will affect Russian tobacco consumers and who benefits from it, we discussed with experts.
The story itself has been going on for more than 10 years, after the Tobacco Control Act was adopted in the USA in 2009. This document obliged the FDA to reduce the nicotine content and ban menthol in cigarettes. By the way, thanks also to this, the inscriptions “Light” have disappeared from the packs. That, however, does not prevent Russian tobacco workers from writing on packs, for example, “light tobacco”. And purely American cigarettes are sold in packs of different colors, already familiar to smokers.
Nevertheless, the tobacco companies at that time “slowed down” the introduction of draconian measures at the federal level – a clause appeared in the law that a condition for this must be strict scientific evidence of the harm of menthol and nicotine and that the benefits to public health will be greater than possible “Side” effects, including economic ones.
The menthol was sorted out pretty quickly. The anti-racist trend also played a significant role here. The main consumers of menthol cigarettes in the United States (as well as in Russia) are teenagers. And in America these are black teenagers. Naturally, society saw here a “conspiracy of corporate predators” against oppressed minorities. But even without this, the FDA has already established that menthol cigarettes are more difficult to quit smoking, they are more likely (the very “high-like”) more harmful to health, and also involve minors in smoking. As a result, a number of states, including California, have already banned menthol cigarettes. Now it is being decided whether it will be extended to the federal level.
And at the same time the fate of nicotine is being decided. If its content in cigarettes is reduced to non-addictive levels, it is estimated that millions of smokers will switch to less harmful alternatives in the form of nicotine gum, candy and e-cigarettes.
But is it possible?
“This, by definition, cannot be,” Evgeny Brun, the chief freelance psychologist and narcologist of the Russian Ministry of Health, told us. – Nicotine is a drug from the group of hallucinogens.
– So it’s like with alcohol? It doesn’t matter whether it is beer or vodka, but there is alcohol in these drinks. And is it naive to think that you can not sleep if you consume only low-alcohol drinks?
– Absolutely right. The amount of nicotine does not matter. The person will simply start increasing the dose to get the effect. Accordingly, it will receive even more disease-causing combustion products.
– It turns out that in order to get the effect of nicotine, a person will have to smoke more. So will tobacco companies be able to sell more and more cigarettes?
– Yes, you are absolutely right.
But will American tobacco companies be required to comply with the law outside of the United States? Should they produce “nicotine-free” cigarettes in factories, for example, in Russia?
“Of course not,” says Viktor Zykov, a member of the Coordinating Council for Tobacco Control under the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation. – If such a law is adopted, it will apply only to the US domestic market. If an American company produces cigarettes overseas, then, naturally, it will produce them in accordance with the requirements of that country. In terms of the production of tobacco products, there is no extension of the American legal field to other countries.
– But there are practically no American menthol cigarettes, which are actively banned in the United States, in Russia …
– It’s not interconnected. The ban on menthol cigarettes is a trend that has been implemented in the European Union, but, unfortunately, has not reached Russia. Perhaps American menthol cigarettes were not produced here, but in Europe, where this production line was simply excluded.