New research suggest that a flavoring additive known as pyrazine may boost the addictive properties of nicotine, BMJ reports. Pyrazines were originally developed by tobacco companies to enhance the flavor of the new low tar cigarettes (i.e. lights).
While pyrazines were intended to make light cigarettes taste as good as their full bodied counterparts, research indicates that the chemicals act on sensory receptors. Researchers do not believe that nicotine alone is responsible for the intense addictive properties of tobacco smoking and the high relapse rate - pyrazines may be the answer.
"The sensory inputs of pyrazine flavour additives might also provide cues for reward-related learned behaviours and could play a critical role in the development, maintenance, and relapse of tobacco dependence," write the researchers. "They could increase the attractiveness of smoking, particularly among youth."
Now that big tobacco companies have moved into the electronic cigarette business, pyrazines will surely be a part of the flavor that vapers are tasting. It will be interesting to compare Phillip Morris e-cigarette flavor to independent e-juice companies, research may indicate that one is more addictive than the other.
The findings were published online in the journal Tobacco Control.