WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Food and Dug Administration announced plans to change the rules when it comes to cigarettes and other tobacco products.

The FDA announced it plans to lower the amount of nicotine allowed in cigarettes.

Nicotine is not what makes cigarettes toxic, but it is the ingredient that makes smoking addictive.

The FDA said if nicotine levels are lower, cigarettes wouldn’t be as addictive. Health leaders said that would lead to fewer people smoking and fewer people dying of smoking-related diseases.

The FDA said 480,000 people die prematurely from diseases caused by smoking every year.

Health experts said tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States.

“Nicotine is powerfully addictive,” FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf, M.D., said. “Making cigarettes and other combusted tobacco products minimally addictive or non-addictive would help save lives. The U.S. Surgeon General has reported that 87 percent of adult smokers start smoking before age 18, and about two-thirds of adult daily smokers began smoking daily by 18 years of age. Lowering nicotine levels to minimally addictive or non-addictive levels would decrease the likelihood that future generations of young people become addicted to cigarettes and help more currently addicted smokers to quit.”

The change would likely take more than a year to implement.

It still needs to go through a process that includes public comment and be reviewed.

Tobacco companies could also potentially sue the government over the proposed change.

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