Smokers consume same amount of cigarettes regardless of nicotine levels

August 22, 2014
Professor David Hammond found that smokers did not increase their consumption of cigarettes when using a reduced nicotine brand. Credit: Photo credit: Jonathan Bielaski, Light Imaging

Cigarettes with very low levels of nicotine may reduce addiction without increasing exposure to toxic chemicals, according to a new study from the University of Waterloo.

The study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology monitored the smoking behaviours of 72 adults as they switched to three types of with markedly reduced nicotine levels.

Unlike when smokers switch between conventional cigarette brands—all of which have very similar levels of nicotine content—the study found no change in participants' puffing behaviour, number of cigarettes consumed or levels of toxic chemicals in their systems.

The landmark findings may ease concerns that smokers would increase their consumption of cigarettes or puff harder if governments reduced nicotine levels to negligible amounts.

"One of the primary barriers to reducing nicotine levels is the belief that individuals who continue to smoke will smoke more cigarettes in an effort to extract the same nicotine levels, thereby exposing themselves to greater amounts of . Our findings suggest this is not the case," said Professor David Hammond, of the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences at Waterloo, and lead author on the paper. "The smokers were unable or unwilling to compensate when there was markedly less nicotine in the cigarette and when the experience of smoking is far less rewarding."

The cigarettes used in the study—Quest 1, Quest 2 and Quest 3—had a nicotine content of 8.9, 8.4 and 0.6 mg, respectively, as opposed to an average of 12 mg in a regular cigarette.

"There is ample evidence from inside and outside the tobacco industry that major reductions in the nicotine content of cigarettes would result in a less-addictive product," said Professor Hammond. "Overall, the impact of a less-addictive cigarette on reducing smoking uptake and cancer prevention is potentially massive."

At time of the study, Quest cigarettes were the only commercially available cigarettes in the world with significantly reduced nicotine levels.

Explore further: Current evidence suggests benefits of e-cigarettes outweigh harms

Related Stories

Current evidence suggests benefits of e-cigarettes outweigh harms

July 31, 2014
A major scientific review of available research on the use, content, and safety of e-cigarettes has concluded that – although long-term health effects of e-cigarette use are unknown – compared with conventional cigarettes ...

Lung groups: Governments should limit or ban use of E-cigarettes

July 10, 2014
(HealthDay)—Governments should ban or limit the use of electronic cigarettes until more is known about their health effects, say experts from the world's leading lung organizations.

Study documents secondhand exposure to vapors from electronic cigarettes

December 13, 2013
Electronic cigarettes, when used indoors, may involuntarily expose non-users to nicotine, according to a study led by Maciej Goniewicz, PhD, PharmD, of Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) and published by the journal Nicotine ...

E-cigarettes: Gateway to nicotine addiction for US teens, says study

March 6, 2014
E-cigarettes, promoted as a way to quit regular cigarettes, may actually be a new route to conventional smoking and nicotine addiction for teenagers, according to a new UC San Francisco study.

E-cigarettes in Europe used mostly by the young, current smokers, would-be quitters

June 16, 2014
Most Europeans who have tried electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are young, current smokers, or those who recently tried quitting regular cigarettes, according to a new study from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH). ...

Young parents who use e-cigarettes believe devices are safer for those around them

May 4, 2014
Many young parents are using electronic cigarettes, and despite any evidence for safety, the vast majority of young adults who have used the devices believe they are less harmful than regular cigarettes, according to research ...

Recommended for you

To reduce postoperative pain, consider sleep—and caffeine

August 18, 2017
Sleep is essential for good mental and physical health, and chronic insufficient sleep increases the risk for several chronic health problems.

Despite benefits, half of parents against later school start times

August 18, 2017
Leading pediatrics and sleep associations agree: Teens shouldn't start school so early.

Doctors exploring how to prescribe income security

August 18, 2017
Physicians at St. Michael's Hospital are studying how full-time income support workers hired by health-care clinics can help vulnerable patients or those living in poverty improve their finances and their health.

Schoolchildren who use e-cigarettes are more likely to try tobacco

August 17, 2017
Vaping - or the use of e-cigarettes - is widely accepted as a safer option for people who are already smoking.

Federal snack program does not yield expected impacts, researchers find

August 17, 2017
A well-intentioned government regulation designed to offer healthier options in school vending machines has failed to instill better snacking habits in a sample of schools in Appalachian Virginia, according to a study by ...

Study shows cigarette makers shifted stance on nicotine patches, gum

August 17, 2017
The use of nicotine patches, gum, lozenges, inhalers or nasal sprays—together called "nicotine replacement therapy," or NRT—came into play in 1984 as prescription medicine, which when combined with counseling, helped ...

2 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

BSD
not rated yet Aug 22, 2014
I like smokers in Australia for one thing, we tax the living daylights out of them to pay for health services for non smokers like me.

Personally, I think dumbarse smokers should be encouraged to smoke more, all the while, taxing them more. I think a modest 50% tax increase, yearly is quite reasonable.

They should prohibited to smoke in all public places and whilst driving, with heavy fines and gaol for doing so.

Smokers should also be prohibited from using our public health system, even though they pay for it through taxes.

Why should my taxes be wasted on someone expendable like a smoker? There will always be more dumbarse smokers to replace the existing ones.
zaxxon451
not rated yet Aug 25, 2014

Smokers should also be prohibited from using our public health system, even though they pay for it through taxes.


Would you say the same for people who eat fatty foods or too much sugar? How about people who don't use a seat belt or who regularly exceed the speed limit? And what about those lazy bums who don't get enough exercise? And if we are talking about choices, how about those individuals who choose a high risk occupation? Should police officers and firefighters also not use the public health system?

Health care is a right for everyone, or it's a right for no one.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.