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Marlboro Maker Asks FDA to Convince Americans Nicotine Isn’t That Bad

As Altria tries to move from cigarettes to vaping and other alternatives, it faces a major hurdle: Most adults wrongly think nicotine causes cancer. 

Altria wants smokers to embrace other nicotine products such as its IQOS e-cigarette.

Altria wants smokers to embrace other nicotine products such as its IQOS e-cigarette.

Photographer: Akio Kon/Bloomberg

Marlboro-maker Altria Group Inc. wants to enlist an unlikely partner in convincing Americans that nicotine isn’t as bad as they think—its regulator.

The company asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to tackle misperceptions about nicotine as part of a proposed $100 million advertising campaign to reduce the harm caused by tobacco, according to a letter seen by Bloomberg News.

That could be difficult with about three-fourths of U.S. adults incorrectly believing nicotine causes cancer, Altria said in the communication, citing government research. Clearing up the drug’s health risks will be key to the agency reducing smoking because it will help convince cigarette users to switch to non-combustible options for nicotine, the company said.