On December 17, 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the approval of two new kinds of combustible tobacco cigarettes.  Apparently, the manufacturers have received FDA approval through a properly completed and submitted Pre-Market Tobacco Application (PMTA).

By May 2020, the American Vaping Industry must also submit PMTAs for approval on its products per the newly revised FDA deeming regulations.  Unfortunately, the specific filing requirements are still somewhat unclear even after years of wrangling between FDA officials and vapor advocacy organizations.

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So, what were these strange, new types of tobacco cigarettes?  Hasn’t Big Tobacco invented every type of combustible tobacco product imaginable over the past ten or so decades?  According to an FDA press release,  Moonlight and Moonlight Menthol cigarettes will be appearing on store shelves within the very near future.  They are apparently a “low nicotine” option, reminiscent of the “light” and “slim” variations of the 1980s which were quickly snuffed out. 

The Moonlight cigarette brands will have between 0.2 to 0.7 mg of nicotine per cigarette.  .  A typical tobacco cigarette contains somewhere between 0.4 to 7.4 mg per cigarette.  The FDA presumes that if smokers smoke low nic cigarettes, then they will smoke less?  Or perhaps these low nic smokers will be inhaling less carcinogenic substances, even though nicotine is non-carcinogenic?  The logic behind this FDA decision is completely befuddling.

Vaping be damned; Long live Big Tobacco

The manufacturer of the Moonlight brand is the 22nd Century Group Inc, which the FDA says followed “a rigorous science-based review of the premarket tobacco product applications.” Well done, 22nd Century, but the average American vape shop is still being held hostage by the FDA due to its years-long obscurement of how the PMTA process specifically applies to e-liquids and other vapor products.

For example, what type of “rigorous science-based review” does the FDA require when a local vape shop owner is applying for PMTA approval of an e-liquid made with only three ingredients: FDA-approved vegetable glycerin, FDA-approved propylene glycol, and FDA-approved special flavorings.  How many hundreds of thousands of dollars must these small Mom and Pop vape shops spend to gain the blessing of the FDA?

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The national hysteria over flavored vaping is at frightening proportions.  But where is the national panic over the FDA’s recent approval of two new brands of “low nicotine” tobacco cigarettes? 

Don’t these anti-vaping politicians realize that a low-nic cigarette means that the average smoker will likely be smoking MORE cigarettes rather than less in order to squelch their insatiable desire for nicotine?  Don’t they realize that low-nicotine smoking is going to put more cash in the pockets of Big Tobacco than ever before?

Of course, they do – which is why the fake outrage from our children-loving, vaping-hating politicians about low nicotine cigarettes is remaining ominously lacking.  Long Live Big Tobacco. 

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