Low-nicotine cigarettes may motivate smokers to quit, study finds
The AP (10/1, Marchione) reports on a study published Oct. 1 in the New England Journal of Medicine suggesting that “smokers who switched to special low-nicotine ones wound up smoking less and were more likely to try to quit.” For the study, special cigarettes with nicotine levels of as little as 0.4 milligrams of nicotine per gram of tobacco were made, compared to the usual 15.8 mg of nicotine per gram of tobacco. The study covered “about 800 people who smoked five or more cigarettes a day.” Participants were given cigarettes ranging in nicotine levels of 0.4 mg up to 15.8 mg for six weeks. Those who received the lower concentrations of nicotine “were a little more likely to smoke some regular cigarettes,” yet they all “reported fewer symptoms of nicotine dependence.”
The Los Angeles Times (10/1, Healy) reports in “Science Now” the study explained that “smokers restricted to very low nicotine cigarettes will not smoke more, nor inhale more deeply, to get the same addictive hit.” Researchers found that participants with low-nicotine cigarettes “did not experience some of the extreme withdrawal symptoms — constipation, distraction, increased appetite — that cause many would-be quitters to turn back.”
Reuters (10/1, Emery) reports that those who were given the lowest levels of nicotine were more likely to report that they tried to quit smoking altogether within 30 days of the study concluding.
USA Today (9/30, Szabo) reports that the researchers are now conducting a longer-term, five-month study, as some say the FDA should refrain from regulations until there is additional research proven over time.