"It is critical that the FDA move as quickly as possible to turn this plan into reality", said Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.
"Given their combination of toxicity, addictiveness, prevalence and effect on non-users, it's clear that to maximize the possible public health benefits of our regulation, we must focus our efforts on the death and disease caused by addiction to combustible cigarettes".
This story will updated.
Gottlieb said the FDA does not want to make nicotine products harder to get. The shift could reduce the current US smoking rate from 15 percent to as low as 1.4 percent, the FDA said, and prevent 8 million tobacco-related deaths by the end of the century. Combustible cigarettes are both the deadliest and the most efficient way to deliver nicotine, he said.
Gottlieb said on Twitter this is a "historic first step". Smoking also costs the country $300 billion a year in direct health care and lost productivity, Gottlieb said.
The study was published March 14 in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research.
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Health experts have always been educating people about electronic cigarette that it is not just a secure alternative for the older tobacco cigarettes, but also a significant approach helping existing smokers quit smoking.
Gottlieb noted that although a potential nicotine product standard is at the forefront of the FDA's approach, the FDA is also moving forward with other aspects of its tobacco and nicotine regulation plan, including better protection for children against the marketing of tobacco products, seeking comment on the role of flavors in the initiation, use and cessation of tobacco products, and modernizing the development of medicinal nicotine replacement products.
"Should a product standard be implemented all at once or gradually?"
Many adults try to quit smoking each year but fail because nicotine is such an addictive substance, said Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products. "What unintended consequences - such as the potential for illicit trade or for addicted smokers to compensate for lower nicotine by smoking more - might occur as a result?"
Given that the tobacco industry is likely to fight these proposals, it could be eight to 10 years before reduced-nicotine cigarettes become a reality, said Erika Sward, assistant vice president of national advocacy for the American Lung Association.