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Thanks to the FDA, Biden’s cancer moonshot could succeed

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President Biden’s cancer “moonshot” received a big boost from the Food and Drug Administration, thanks to its aggressive actions aimed at curtailing smoking. Three recent proposals — reducing nicotine in cigarettes, ordering e-cigarette maker Juul to take its products off the market and banning menthol-flavored cigarettes — have the potential to save many lives.

Every year, nearly 500,000 Americans die from smoking-related diseases — more than the annual number of people dying of covid-19. Smoking is the leading cause of cancer deaths, with more than 160,000 people perishing every year from cancers directly attributed to tobacco.

FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf explained at a conference last week that the agency’s proposal to reduce nicotine content in cigarettes is based on nicotine’s extremely high addictive potential. “I think it’s every bit as strong as the opioid addiction,” he said.

Companies know this; they deliberately increased nicotine levels in tobacco products so that smokers crave more cigarettes to fuel their addiction. The FDA contends that the reverse is also true: If cigarettes have such low levels of nicotine that they no longer produce the........

© Washington Post

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