Health & Fitness

Marlboro maker Altria is asking the FDA to make it known that nicotine does not cause cancer


A Marlboro cigarette.

Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Marlboro’s parent, Altria, has asked the Food and Drug Administration to help spread the word that nicotine doesn’t cause cancer.

Bloomberg News said it was reviewing a letter Altria sent to the FDA asking the agency to spread the word about nicotine as part of a proposed publicity campaign about the risks of tobacco use.

“We have received the letter and will respond directly to the company,” FDA spokeswoman Alison Hunt told CNBC in an email. Altria was not immediately available to comment on the matter.

In the letter, Altria reportedly cited government studies on misperceptions about nicotine and said this move would be crucial in helping traditional smokers transition to non-flammable methods for nicotine.

While the vast majority of Altria’s revenue comes from the sale of cigarettes and cigars, the company also has a stake in vaping company Juul, an On! and it markets IQOS, a smoke-free tobacco product that heats tobacco instead of burning it, in the United States

There are at least 60 carcinogens in cigarette smoke, but these newer products deliver nicotine without burning it. As the regulator of Altria, the FDA can determine what claims it can make of its products.

The FDA has allowed Altria to market IQOS in a way that would reduce the exposure of users to harmful chemicals than cigarette smoke.

Nicotine is the addicting ingredient to tobacco and it can have other negative effects. The article mentions studies that have shown that nicotine can affect brain development and childbirth outcomes, and in large doses it can act as an agricultural poison.

Read the full Bloomberg story here.


Katherine Clark