Cigarette iQOS by Philip Morris in photo provided by the company in January 2018.  Archived Image

WASHINGTON (Conspiracy Talk News) – Soon there could be cigarettes that are not addictive and that could practically make smoking disappear if a campaign of the US health authorities has its way.

The proposal of the Food and Drug Administration, however, could have another consequence: clear the way for companies to sell a new generation of tobacco derivatives.

The initiative places that agency, known as the FDA, in the middle of an old debate about the launch of smoking products that reduce risks, such as electronic cigarettes, and on whether all efforts should be focused on combating smoking to make people quit.

“This is the most controversial controversy I have seen in my 40 years studying policies to control tobacco,” said Kenneth Warner, professor from the University of Michigan School of Public Health.

The idea of ​​the FDA has two edges: drastically reduce nicotine levels so that cigarettes do not generate addiction and, for those who can not quit, allow low-risk products that have nicotine but without causing the deadly effects of traditional cigarettes .

The FDA is expected to start a testing process that could take years to control the nicotine in cigarettes. 

Next week they will hold a public hearing on an alternative to cigarettes proposed by Philip Morris International, which, if approved by the FDA, could go on sale in February.

The product, called iQOS, is a device similar to a ballpoint pen that heats tobacco but does not burn it. 

Philip Morris says this reduces contact with tar and other toxic byproducts that releases from a cigarette when it burns. Electronic cigarettes do not contain tobacco, but use a liquid that evaporates and that usually contains nicotine.

These new products could put an end to tobacco industry’s of delivering a deadly blow to these companies. These sectors affirm that no tobacco is safe and that the objective should be to avoid it at all costs. Although there are those who could contemplate the idea of ​​alternative products to help people quit smoking, which is the most lethal form of tobacco.

Tobacco companies have been talking about safer cigarettes since the 1950s, but all their claims turned out to be false. 

They are also confronted with their manipulation of public opinion and the government’s efforts to combat smoking. In 2006, for example, a judge ruled that tobacco companies had lied and cheated the public about the effects of smoking for 50 years.

“This is not an industry that is legitimately interested in saving lives,” said Erikak Sward of the National Lung Association.

Some observers believe that things will be different this time.

“The environment has changed, technology has changed, the companies themselves have changed. That’s the reality, “said Scott Ballin, a public policy consultant who worked for the National Heart Association.

The FDA says it is willing to try different approaches to getting people to stop smoking, including the approval of alternative products, to make way for cigarettes with such a low level of nicotine that they will no longer be attractive to those lifetime smokers.

“We want to offer choices to adults who want access to satisfactory levels of nicotine,” but without the dangers of burning tobacco, said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb.

In the framework of this new campaign, Philip Morris will try to convince the authorities next week that the iQOS is less harmful than cigarettes, in the hope that it will be allowed to sell it as a form of tobacco with fewer risks.

The company estimates that, since it contains tobacco, the smoker will find it more attractive than the electronic cigarette.

Philip Morris already sells the product in 30 countries, including Canada, Japan and the United Kingdom.

Mattew Myers, of the Campaign for Children without Tobacco, says that the iQOS continues to carry risks and that the FDA should limit the sale of such products.

“More and more people will decide that the cigarette is too dangerous and the iQOS offers an alternative that allows them to continue smoking,” he said.

It is not clear to what extent the alternative products help the smoker to quit smoking.

Recent studies indicate that when the smoker begins to smoke cigarettes with less nicotine, smokes less and increases the chances of quitting. 

But they look for nicotine elsewhere, which would confirm that it is necessary to offer alternatives. 

Without them, they probably will continue to smoke cigarettes offered from the black markets.

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