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FDA Proposal To Slash Nicotine In Cigarettes Could Have Big Impact In California

Marlboro cigarettes are shown on display at a liquor store in Palo Alto, Cali...

Photo by Associated Press

Above: Marlboro cigarettes are shown on display at a liquor store in Palo Alto, Calif., Oct. 15, 2010.

Tobacco control advocates are praising a proposal from the Food and Drug Administration to drastically reduce the amount of nicotine in cigarettes.

The FDA plan would limit the nicotine level at 0.4 milligrams of nicotine per gram of tobacco. That's roughly a 97 percent reduction in nicotine compared to current levels in the average cigarette.

According to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, there are 40,000 smoking-related deaths in California each year. An analysis from UC San Francisco revealed smoking accounts for one in seven deaths in the state.

Erika Sward, assistant vice president for national advocacy at the American Lung Association, said cutting nicotine levels in cigarettes would make a difference.

“Over time, those numbers should come down, because it should be easier for smokers to quit, and for people never to get hooked on the product to begin with," she said.

However, Sward said, the tobacco industry will fight the FDA’s proposal. She said it will take a commitment from Congress and the Trump administration to make it a reality.

Smoking-related deaths will likely decline in California if a Food and Drug Administration proposal to cut nicotine in cigarettes is enacted.

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