(Reuters) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is seeking public opinion as well as scientific research on the role nicotine plays in cigarette addiction, the agency said on Thursday, as it aims to lower tobacco-related deaths across the country.

The latest steps are part of a comprehensive plan to regulate tobacco and nicotine that the agency announced last summer, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement.

That plan marked a major shift designed in moving smokers towards potentially less harmful e-cigarettes.

The FDA is seeking additional research and data for public review, Gottlieb said, as the agency deliberates on developing a nicotine product standard.

Gottlieb said the FDA is also seeking public opinion on topics such as the appropriate maximum nicotine level in cigarettes and if a product standard should be implemented all at once or gradually.

The FDA also plans to seek similar public input and scientific research on the role that flavors such as menthol play in tobacco addiction and also for the regulation of premium cigars, Gottlieb said.


Reporting by Sharnya G in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza


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