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Reducing nicotine in cigarettes decreases use, dependence and cravings

Science Spotlight

October 01, 2015

Cigarette being pulled from pack

New NIDA-funded research shows that cutting the amount of nicotine in cigarettes leads to a reduction in the amount of cigarettes smoked per day, decreased nicotine dependence, and reduced cravings.

The double-blind randomized study was conducted with 840 smokers who had no current interest in quitting. For six weeks, participants were randomly assigned to smoke either their usual brand or one of six investigational cigarettes that varied in nicotine content from 15.8 mg/g of tobacco (the typical amount found in commercial brands) to 0.4 mg/g.  Those who used cigarettes with 2.4 mg of nicotine or less per gram smoked 23 to 30 percent fewer cigarettes per day at week six than participants who smoked cigarettes with 15.8 mg per gram.

The study also found that the use of the low nicotine cigarettes did not cause the participants to smoke more cigarettes in order to maintain the same nicotine exposure, suggesting that these smokers may experience less nicotine dependence and craving when not smoking.

For a copy of the article published in The New England Journal of Medicine go to http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMsa1502403.

To learn more about tobacco, go to https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/tobacco-nicotine.

For more information, contact the NIDA press office at media@nida.nih.gov or 301-443-6245.


NIDA Press Office

About the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is a component of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIDA supports most of the world’s research on the health aspects of drug use and addiction. The Institute carries out a large variety of programs to inform policy, improve practice, and advance addiction science. Fact sheets on the health effects of drugs and information on NIDA research and other activities can be found at www.drugabuse.gov, which is now compatible with your smartphone, iPad or tablet. To order publications in English or Spanish, call NIDA’s DrugPubs research dissemination center at 1-877-NIDA-NIH or 240-645-0228 (TDD) or email requests to drugpubs@nida.nih.gov. Online ordering is available at drugpubs.drugabuse.gov. NIDA’s media guide can be found at www.drugabuse.gov/publications/media-guide/dear-journalist, and its easy-to-read website can be found at www.easyread.drugabuse.gov. You can follow NIDA on Twitter and Facebook.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

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    NIDA. (2015, October 1). Reducing nicotine in cigarettes decreases use, dependence and cravings. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/news-events/news-releases/2015/10/reducing-nicotine-in-cigarettes-decreases-use-dependence-cravings

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