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Friday, August 29, 2014

Lower Nicotine May Reduce Addiction

Many people hold that if cigarettes had less nicotine people would simply smoke more. In fact, reducing nicotine in cigarettes does not lead to increased smoking habits and may actually reduce addiction, according to a new study conducted by the University of Waterloo.

The smoking behaviors of 72 adults were monitored by researchers; the study participants switched to three types of cigarettes with reduced nicotine levels. Researchers observed no change in participants' smoking behavior, number of cigarettes consumed or levels of toxic chemicals in their systems.

"One of the primary barriers to reducing nicotine levels is the belief that individuals who continue to smoke will smoke more cigarettes in an effort to extract the same nicotine levels, thereby exposing themselves to greater amounts of toxic chemicals. Our findings suggest this is not the case," said study lead author Professor David Hammond, of the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences at Waterloo. "The smokers were unable or unwilling to compensate when there was markedly less nicotine in the cigarette and when the experience of smoking is far less rewarding."

The average cigarette smoked everyday contain 12mg of nicotine, the cigarettes used in the study - Quest 1, Quest 2 and Quest 3 - had a nicotine content of 8.9, 8.4 and 0.6 mg of nicotine. At the time of the study, Quest cigarettes were the only cigarettes with reduced nicotine in the world available for commercial use.

"There is ample evidence from inside and outside the tobacco industry that major reductions in the nicotine content of cigarettes would result in a less-addictive product," said Professor Hammond. "Overall, the impact of a less-addictive cigarette on reducing smoking uptake and cancer prevention is potentially massive."

The study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology.

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