Reducing the addictiveness of cigarettes by reducing their nicotine content can potentially have a profound impact on public health. Two different approaches to nicotine reduction have been proposed: gradual and immediate. To determine if either of these approaches results in significant compensatory smoking behavior, which might lead to safety concerns, we performed a secondary analysis of data from studies that have utilized these two approaches. The number of cigarettes smoked per day, carbon monoxide exposure, and cotinine levels in plasma or urine were assessedwhile participants smoked reduced nicotine content cigarettes and compared with when they smoked their usual brand cigarettes. The results showed that in general, these two approaches led to minimal compensatory smoking and reduced levels of cotinine over the course of the experimental period, suggesting that neither of these approaches poses a major safety concern.
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© 2014 American Association for Cancer Research.