(AP) U.S. health officials have endorsed a type of cigarette that could help ease the addictive grip of smoking by delivering very low levels of nicotine. The Food and Drug Administration will allow 22nd Century Group to begin selling the first low-nicotine cigarettes reviewed by federal health regulators. The products contain roughly 95 percent less nicotine than standard cigarettes, according to the FDA. Nicotine, which occurs naturally in tobacco plants, is the addictive chemical that makes cigarettes, chew and related products so hard to quit. Past efforts to sell similar low-nicotine products have fallen flat. Regulators stressed that their ruling does not mean the new products are safer than regular cigarettes. The agency noted there are no safe tobacco products. Cigarettes cause cancer, lung disease, stroke and a number of other deadly diseases. But the agency's tobacco chief, Mitch Zeller, noted in a statement that 22nd Century Group's products are the first cigarettes to show the potential "to help reduce nicotine dependence among addicted smokers.''