The Biden administration signaled Tuesday that it will develop a proposed rule to establish a maximum nicotine level in cigarettes and other tobacco products that will essentially lower the amount of nicotine in products available in the US. It is a step that no other administration has taken before and is one public health experts say would be transformative if enacted.
“This is the first time there’s ever been a serious discussion with a commitment from the highest levels of government to tackle tobacco in a way that is transformative,” said Matthew Myers, the president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “It will transform public health in the United States and literally do more to reduce cancer, cardiovascular disease and respiratory disease than any other set of actions the government could take.”
So Is Nicotine really that unhealthy? In our next report, TKN reporter Scott explains what nicotine is and the danger of using it…especially if you are a teen. Watch the full report above 👆
Here are some extra Quick facts about Nicotine:
- Most e-cigarettes (vapes) contain nicotine—the addictive drug in regular cigarettes, cigars, and other tobacco products.
- A CDC study found that 99% of the e-cigarettes sold in assessed venues in the United States contained nicotine.
- Some vape product labels do not disclose that they contain nicotine, and some vape liquids marketed as containing 0% nicotine have been found to contain nicotine.
- Nicotine can harm the developing adolescent brain. The brain keeps developing until about age 25.
- Using nicotine in adolescence can harm the parts of the brain that control attention, learning, mood, and impulse control.
- Each time a new memory is created or a new skill is learned, stronger connections – or synapses – are built between brain cells. Young people’s brains build synapses faster than adult brains. Nicotine changes the way these synapses are formed.
- Using nicotine in adolescence may also increase risk for future addiction to other drugs.
- Some of the ingredients in e-cigarette aerosol could also be harmful to the lungs in the long-term. For example, some e-cigarette flavorings may be safe to eat but not to inhale because the gut can process more substances than the lungs.
- Defective e-cigarette batteries have caused some fires and explosions, a few of which have resulted in serious injuries.
- Children and adults have been poisoned by swallowing, breathing, or absorbing e-cigarette liquid through their skin or eyes. Nationally, approximately 50% of calls to poison control centers for e-cigarettes are for kids 5 years of age or younger.
History of Nicotine
Nicotine is a substance found in the tobacco plant. Tobacco use likely began in the first century in Central America.
Native Americans would chew or smoke tobacco leaves. They used tobacco for religious rites of passage and medicinal cures for asthma, fever, depression, and more.
By the 1500s, Portuguese and Spanish sailors brought tobacco from the Americas to Europe. The French ambassador to Lisbon, Nicot de Villemain, introduced tobacco to the French court. His name would be used to create the name nicotine. In the 1600s, tobacco was cultivated in the present-day United States. By 1880, the first cigarette-rolling machine was invented.
In the 1950s, researchers were already linking smoking tobacco with diseases like lung cancer. By the 1970s, they found that nicotine was an extremely addictive substance.
Since the 1970s, there have been many landmark legislations in the United States to regulate smoking and educate people on the hazards of smoking. Still, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that there are 1.3 billion people in the world who currently smoke tobacco.
If you or a loved one are struggling with substance use or addiction, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.