An analysis of data from a 2010 survey found that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has the support of many Americans should the agency decide to exercise its authority to lower nicotine levels in cigarettes.
Researchers at the Schroeder Institute for Tobacco Research and Policy Studies at the Legacy Foundation said 47 percent of the respondents in the survey would support government-mandated reduction of nicotine levels in cigarettes; 16.6 percent opposed the action; and almost 36.8 percent had no opinion, HealthDay reports.
The study also revealed that smokers who considered quitting are more likely to support regulation than smokers who are not thinking of quitting. African Americans, Hispanics, and those with lower education levels were especially supportive of nicotine reduction.
“Nicotine reduction could be a promising tool to protect the population from the harm and death caused by tobacco products,” study lead author Jennifer Pearson, a Schroeder Institute research investigator, said in a news release. “This study shows us that such measures could be acceptable to a large number of Americans.”
Pearson added that their findings would be helpful for the FDA in determining public opinion if ever it decides to push such regulation.
According to the Centers and Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoking is responsible for about one in five deaths in the U.S. annually. Each day, more than 3,800 people younger than 18 smoke their first cigarette, and 1,000 persons younger than 18 begin to smoke on a daily basis. Those who smoke are at increased risk for cancer, heart disease, stroke, and lung diseases (including emphysema, bronchitis, and chronic airway obstruction).