Low-Nicotine Cigarettes Do Not Help to Quit


New study found that cigarettes with low nicotine are of less help when it comes to cessation.

It was published in the journal Addiction, on July 22.

The author of the study is Dr. Neal Benowitz, a professor in the departments of medicine and bioengineering and therapeutic sciences at the University of California, San Francisco.

He told that it cannot be said for sure that cigarettes with low nicotine help to reduce dependence to nicotine, but it can be said for sure that reduction of amount of cigarettes really helps to succeed.

In the study participated 135 smokers who were interested in use of low-nicotine cigarettes but had no plans to stop smoking at the moment. 18 participants used cigarettes with lowest amount of nicotine. In these cigarettes there was only 5% of nicotine normally used in regular cigarettes. Other 55 participants were asked to used their regular cigarettes. The two groups smoked cigarettes as desired. Those who wanted to quit smoking received all necessary guidelines on cessation.

The study found that participants who used cigarettes with low nicotine managed to reduce their nicotine intake, but did not manage to reduce usual amount of cigarettes. The study lasted two years and during this period only one participant in the low nicotine group managed to quit. In the regular cigarette group no one managed to quit. The researchers consider that participants in the low-nicotine group used regular cigarettes too.

The researchers made blood tests in participants in order to determine the level of cotinine which is produced during smoking.. Levels of this substance were much higher than expected. This fact made the researchers suggest that those participants also used regular cigarettes.

Benowitz told that people used to think that low-nicotine cigarettes are low addictive, therefore officials tend to push reduction of nicotine amount in cigarettes to make them safer. However, all these efforts will be useless if regular cigarettes will be available.

Benowitz considers that the best strategy to reduce smoking is to work in several directions at the same time: educate people about smoking effects, provide easy access to cessation programs and tools.

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