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Marlboro maker Altria asks FDA to spread the word that nicotine doesn’t cause cancer

A Marlboro cigarette.

Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Casts

Marlboro parent Altria is asking the Food and Drug Administration to help it spread the word that nicotine doesn’t root cancer.

CNBC on Thursday obtained a copy of a letter Altria sent to the FDA asking the agency to help get the message out all over nicotine as part of a proposed advertising campaign on the risks of tobacco use.

“We have received the letter and will respond just to the company,” FDA spokeswoman Alison Hunt told CNBC in an email.

Altria was not immediately available to comment on the matter.

In the learning, which was dated Feb. 25 and signed by Paige C. Magness, senior vice president of regulatory affairs, Altria cited control studies on the misperceptions about nicotine. It said that clearing up such misperceptions would help traditional smokers change to noncombustible methods of using nicotine that are potentially less risky than products with smoke.

Bloomberg Expos first reported on the letter Thursday.

While the vast majority of Altria’s revenue comes from selling cigarettes and cigars, it also owns a hitch in vaping company Juul and nicotine pouch brand On!, and it markets IQOS, a smoke-free tobacco product that heats tobacco in lieu of of burning it, in the U.S.

There are at least 60 carcinogens in cigarette smoke, but these newer products deliver nicotine without the smoke.

As Altria’s regulator, the FDA can influence what claims it can make about its products. The FDA has allowed Altria to market IQOS as providing users with ungenerous exposure to harmful chemicals than cigarette smoke.

Nicotine is the ingredient that makes tobacco addictive, and it may suffer with other negative health effects. In its report, Bloomberg said studies have shown that nicotine can interpose with brain development and birth outcomes and acts as an agricultural poison in large doses.

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