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The FDA wants to lower nicotine levels in cigarettes to fight addiction

By Lauren Thomas, CNBC

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday announced a plan for tobacco and nicotine regulation, which seeks to lower nicotine in cigarettes to non-addictive levels.

This would be just the first step in a sweeping review of the tobacco industry’s regulations by the agency, with the goal of encouraging the development of new products that are less dangerous than cigarettes. The FDA has also said it will consider the role of menthol and other flavors in tobacco products.

The statement by the FDA largely came as a surprise and will likely face much resistance from tobacco companies, which are already facing a declining consumer base for their products.

Shares of Altria Group, maker of Marlboro and Parliament brands through its Philip Morris USA unit, plunged more than 10% following the FDA’s announcement. British American Tobacco, which owns brands such as Camel, Lucky Strike and Newport, fell nearly 9%. Vector Group, which sells Liggett Select, Eve and other cigarette brands, saw its stock tumble more than 4%.


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