FDA Begins Lowering Nicotine in Cigarettes
March 16, 2018
FDA takes first steps to lower nicotine levels in cigarettes; Consumer sentiment increases to highest level since 2004; U.S. housing starts tumble as multi-family housing segment weakens.
- FDA takes first steps to lower nicotine levels in cigarettes. The Food and Drug Administration said Thursday that it plans to lower the amount of nicotine in cigarettes to make them less addictive. FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said Thursday that the agency would propose the rule and open a long bureaucratic process. This is an unprecedented move by the FDA, which only got permission to regulate to tobacco products in 2009. The FDA does not have the authority to prohibit tobacco-based products, but since 2009, it has moved to impose some limits of tobacco sales and marketing. [NBC News]
Economic Indicators & News
- Consumer sentiment increases to highest level since 2004. U.S. consumer sentiment rose more than expected in the preliminary March reading, reaching the highest level since 2004. The University of Michigan’s mid-month report on consumer attitudes increased to 102, higher than economists polled by Reuters who expected the reading to only reach 99.3. Consumers noted a favorable economic outlook and confidence around their personal finances. However, optimistic mentions of tax reform legislation were weighed down by negative views of steel and aluminum tariffs, according to the survey. Overall, consumers continue to be confident about both buying and borrowing in advance due to expected improving trends. The index measures 500 consumers’ attitudes on future economic prospects, including personal finances, inflation, employment, government policies, and interest rates. [CNBC]
- U.S. housing starts tumble as multi-family housing segment weakens. U.S. home building fell as declines in housing starts in multi-family properties outweighed a second straight monthly increase in single-family projects. According to the Commerce Department, housing starts declined by 7.0 percent to a seasonally adjusted rate of 1.236 million units in February. Data for January was revised up to show a groundbreaking housing start rate of 1.329 million-unit pace instead of the previously reported 1.326 million units. Permits for future home building decreased 5.7 percent to a rate of 1.298 million units in February. Mortgage rates have also risen, yet the housing market remains underpinned by a robust labor market. [Reuters]