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The FDA has proposed a cap on cigarette nicotine content - will this drive smokers to safer products, or towards unregulated alternatives? Will Godfrey discusses the uncertain future that lies in the hands of the FDA.


0:00 - Intro with Joanna Junak
0:28 - FDA plans cap on cigarette nicotine content
2:15 - Competitive pricing of nicotine vapes could help smokers switch to safer products
2:58 - Register for #GFN23 at the link below


Hello and welcome. I'm Joanna Junak and this is GFN News on GFN.TV. Today we'll

be speaking with Will Godfrey of Filter about study looking at the role of vapes if the

United States limits nicotine levels in cigarettes. Hi Will. What did this study investigate and

what did it find? Hi Joanna. Yes, researchers at Johns Hopkins University were seeking to

anticipate how people who smoke would react if the FDA caps nicotine in cigarettes at

a low level. As Ben Adlin noted in his report for Filter, the Biden administration announced

this proposal last year and the FDA has the authority to enact it. It's a controversial

plan. Many THR advocates object on the grounds that rather than reducing smoking, it would

prompt people to draw harder or smoke more to get the nicotine they want or else turn

to the illicit market to obtain full nicotine cigarettes. The recent study confirmed that

latter possibility. It recruited participants who smoke at least five a day to complete

a number of hypothetical purchasing tasks. More than three quarters said that they would

or might buy illicit market cigarettes if that were the only way to get cigarettes with

regular nicotine levels. But the availability and critically the price of nicotine vapes

altered that hypothetical picture. Study scenarios involved participants being offered vapes

at differing prices. If they were $12 a pot, then they didn't step in and serve as a substitute

for illicit cigarettes, co-author Matthew Johnson told Ben. But if you introduce them

at $4 a pot, they do. The availability of the $4 pot caused about a 19% decrease in

the amount of reduced nicotine cigarettes smoked on average, he added.

So what can we take away from this?

As Alex Clark of the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives Association told Ben,

it's no surprise that giving vapor products a competitive edge over combustible cigarettes

leads to more interest and more substitution by people who smoke. Still, this is a valuable

addition to evidence that if the FDA, despite objections, goes through with its plan, it

must not sideline vapes as an alternative to low nicotine or illicit cigarettes.

Reporting on issues like vape taxes can sometimes appear a bit in the weeds, but relative pricing

compared to cigarettes is always critical. You'd think it would be obvious to ensure

through tax policies that purchasing a far safer alternative is heavily incentivized.

Sadly, relying on US authorities to follow the evidence is rarely a safe bet.

Thank you all. We are looking forward to seeing you next week in Warsaw. That's all for today.

Tune in next time here on GFN TV or on our GFN TV podcast. There is still time to register

for the Global Forum on Nicotine. GFN 2023 starts on June 21st and runs to the 24th.

Thanks for watching or listening. See you next time.