Biden Takes Aim at Smokers

Joe Biden

( – The administration of President Joe Biden has proposed imposing brand-new restrictions on the nicotine content of cigarettes and other tobacco products – a policy shift that has not been met with enthusiasm by the tobacco industry and consumer organizations.

The proposal was detailed in a statement by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), which is part of the Office of Management and Budget of the White House.

OIRA informs that the newly proposed rule provides for establishing a “maximum nicotine level” by the Food and Drugs Administration with respect to cigarettes and some other tobacco products.

The statement argues that the new action will “reduce addictiveness” to some tobacco products, which would, in turn, allow those who are addicted to them “a greater ability to quit. It also notes that nicotine causes no harm, but it is responsible for the addiction, exposing consumers to certain harmful toxins.

“This product standard would also help to prevent experimenters (mainly youth) from initiating regular use, and, therefore, from becoming regular smokers,” OIRA concluded.

According to The Washington Post, the FDA could put the new nicotine content rules in place by May 2023 at the earliest because of the respective administrative procedure that it needs to observe in order to implement the policy change.

The tobacco industry and consumer freedom experts were quick to make it clear that they don’t view the new nicotine plan of the Biden administration favorably.

“In practical terms, the proposal would ban most cigarettes currently sold in America. Combined with the Biden administration’s proposed ban on menthol cigarettes, this would amount to an effort similar to the prohibition of alcohol in the 1920s,” Guy Bentley, the head of consumer freedom at the Reason Foundation, told the Post. He predicted that the new restriction was going to fail.

Altria, a tobacco company, reacted by arguing instead in favor of “tobacco harm reduction” rather than “taking products away from adult smokers.”

“The focus should be… more on providing them a robust marketplace of reduced harm FDA-authorized smoke-free products,” it said.

A report by The Wall Street Journal noted that the rate of cigarette smoking in the United States has been sliding for decades now – although it did see a small uptick in 2020, which is associated with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.