The tobacco industry is having a nicotine fit. On Aug. 2, the Food & Drug Administration asked a panel of experts to determine whether nicotine was addictive. The verdict: You bet.

The finding doesn't mean the FDA can regulate cigarettes any time soon, though. Under the law, FDA Commissioner David A. Kessler also must prove that cigarette makers purposely use nicotine because of its addictive power. And sources say he won't take action until Congress provides a strong gesture of support. But experts are already discussing potential regulatory steps. One idea would be to mandate lower nicotine levels in smokes to keep teens who experiment with smoking from getting hooked.

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