Despite his announcement to potentially require lower levels of nicotine in cigarettes, even the largest tobacco manufacturers have viewed Gottlieb as largely good for the industry.

In a public statement, Richmond, Va.-based Altria Group Inc. called the director’s July 2017 announcement on nicotine levels and deeming a “meaningful step forward in developing a comprehensive regulatory policy that acknowledges the continuum of risk. We supported FDA regulation because, among other things, it created a framework for communication about reduced-harm products.”

A spokesperson for Reynolds American Inc., Winston-Salem, N.C., expressed similar views: “[We] are encouraged by FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb’s comments recognizing tobacco harm-reduction policies and the continuum of risk for tobacco products. Gottlieb’s comments regarding nicotine and menthol do not come as a surprise to us. We are well-prepared and look forward to participating in a thorough process to develop a comprehensive plan for tobacco and nicotine regulation.”