On Friday, the FDA took a big step towards making cigarettes less addictive, while also giving a (temporary) pass to e-cigs.
In case you weren't paying attention in health class that day, nicotine what makes cigarettes addictive. FDA head Scott Gottlieb helpfully broke it down:
"Nicotine itself is not responsible for the cancer, the lung disease and heart disease that kill hundreds of thousands of Americans each year," he said. "It's the other chemical compounds in tobacco and in the smoke created by setting tobacco on fire that directly cause illness and death."
Scientists and health advocates have been trying for years to get manufacturers to reduce nicotine levels in their product. Experts are calling for a reduction of around 90%. Research has shown that when the cut is that dramatic, smokers do not generally compensate by smoking more.
Unsurprisingly, the big losers in this announcement were tobacco companies, which lost about $26 billion in market value after the announcement.
When it comes to e-cigarettes and vaping, though, the FDA kicked the can down the road. Prior to Friday's announcement, makers of e-cigs and other vaping-related products had until the end of next year to submit their products to the government for review. But now they have an extra four years, so you can enjoy your cherry vape liquid without interference from the Man until 2022.