January 10, 2022
Attempts to expand the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products influence over nicotine products has begun! HR 6286 is a bill submitted to the House of Representatives that seeks to change the definition of “tobacco products” to include products made with synthetic nicotine or tobacco free nicotine.
Representative Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey, who introduced the bill, Claimed the bill is meant to target “a loophole allowing bad actors in the vaping industry to evade [FDA] regulations and sell nicotine products targeted at children.” The bill is co-sponsored by Utah Republican Representative Chris Stewart and Illinois Democrat Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi.
Overall, the bill would move the Center for Tobacco Product’s role away from regulating tobacco, and more towards regulating the addictiveness of nicotine itself. More laws that treat all nicotine the same way as tobacco is a step away from accepting harm reduction.
Some plants beside tobacco produce nicotine as well. Nicotine is a chemical that plants use for self defense, and was once even used as a pesticide. There are trace amounts of nicotine in most edible members of the Solanaceae family, including tomatoes, eggplants, and potatoes.
HR 6286 provides an exemption for the low levels of nicotine that occur in plants that have not been genetically altered to produce more nicotine. Extracting nicotine from non-tobacco plants has been an idea, but would likely be commercially unviable given how little nicotine non-tobacco plants produce. Nicotine produced from plants bred or modified to produce more nicotine would be covered under this bill as well.
The Bill has been introduced, but there is no timeline for hearings on the bill. You can check up on the progress of the bill and see the full text here.
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