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NIDA. (2015, October 1). Reducing nicotine in cigarettes decreases use, dependence and cravings. Retrieved from

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Science Spotlight

October 01, 2015

Cigarette being removed 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.

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