Reduced-nicotine cigarettes ‘do not lead to increased smoking intensity’
24 Aug, 2014
Source: Medical NEWs Today
Rearchers have previously been concerned that cigarettes with reduced levels of nicotine could lead to smokers increasing the intensity of their habit in order to satisfy their nicotine cravings. A new study of the prolonged use of reduced-nicotine cigarettes suggests that this may not be the case.
Nicotine is the main addictive component in tobacco smoke, responsible for both the rewarding feeling that cigarettes give smokers and the feelings of withdrawal that arise when the habit is stopped. Nicotine is also considered to be one of the most difficult substances to give up.
The authors of a new study, published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, state that previous research has found that smokers aim to “achieve a desired nicotine dose and will adjust their smoking behavior to maintain this dose across products.”
If smokers are using reduced-nicotine cigarettes, the fear is that they would begin to smoke more in order to achieve their desired nicotine dose, and so increase their exposure to the other harmful components of cigarettes, such as tar and carbon monoxide.
With their recent study, the authors aimed to examine the changes in smoking behavior that arose with the smoking of reduced-nicotine cigarettes, and whether compensatory smoking occurred as a result. They also set out to investigate whether reduced-nicotine cigarettes affected smokers’ exposure to nicotine and nicotine withdrawal symptoms.
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