Reduced nicotine cigarettes could lower risk for smokers

By Allison Rubenstein,

Under the 2009 Tobacco Act, the United States Food and Drug Administration has the authority to regulate the amount of nicotine that companies can put in cigarettes. But, there has been fear among health leaders and lawmakers that a reduction in nicotine could increase the intensity with which smokers inhale, leading to other chemical exposures.

This concern led to a recent study that examined smokers’ behavior changes with reduced nicotine cigarettes. After measuring the chemical exposure and following the behavior of 72 participants, the researchers concluded that “cigarettes with markedly reduced nicotine content are not associated with increased smoking intensity or exposure to smoke toxicants.” The study also noted that subjects did not have more frequent urges to smoke in order to make up for the reduced nicotine.

Lead author David Hammond explained that “smokers are unable or unwilling to compensate" when their cigarettes contain less nicotine and “when the experience of smoking is far less rewarding,” as reported by the Daily Digest News. The study was published in the American Association for Cancer Research journal.

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