INTRODUCTION: The FDA proposed rule-making to reduce nicotine in cigarettes to minimally addictive levels. Research suggests decreasing nicotine levels (i.e. very low nicotine content cigarettes [VLNCs]) produced greater quit attempts, reduced smoking, and reduced exposure to harmful constituents among smokers. The impact of long-term VLNC use among people who co-use cigarettes and cannabis on non-tobacco-specific toxicant and carcinogen exposure has not been investigated. AIMS AND METHODS: This study presents secondary analyses of a controlled clinical trial examining switching to VLNC (versus a normal nicotine cigarettes control group [NNCs]) between people who co-use cigarettes and cannabis (n = 174) versus smoked cigarettes (n = 555). Linear mixed-effects models compared changes in smoking behavior, and tobacco-specific (i.e. total nicotine equivalents [TNE], 4-[methylnitrosamino]-1-[3-pyridyl]-1-butanone [NNK; total NNAL]) and non-tobacco-specific (i.e. carbon monoxide (CO), 2-cyanoethylmercapturic acid [CEMA], phenanthrene tetraol [PheT]) toxicant and carcinogen exposure at week 20 (with random intercept for participants). Cannabis use was measured among co-use groups. RESULTS: CO was significantly lower only among the cigarette-only group assigned VLNCs (interaction: p = .015). Although both VLNC groups demonstrated decreased CEMA, greater decreases emerged among the cigarette-only group (interaction: p = .016). No significant interactions emerged for TNE, cigarettes per day (CPD), NNAL, and PheT (ps > .05); both VLNC groups decreased in TNE, CPD, and NNAL. Only the cigarette-only group assigned VLNCs demonstrated decreased PheT (p < .001). The VLNC co-use group showed increased cannabis use over time (p = .012; 0.5 more days per week by week 20). CONCLUSIONS: Those who co-use cannabis and cigarettes may still be at risk for greater exposure to non-tobacco-specific toxicants and carcinogens compared to those who only smoke cigarettes. IMPLICATIONS: The present study is the longest longitudinal, prospective comparison study of smoking behavior and exposure to harmful constituents among those who co-use cigarettes and cannabis versus cigarette-only after immediately switching to very low nicotine content cigarettes (VLNC). Those who co-use experienced similar reductions in CPD and tobacco-specific exposure, compared to those who only use cigarettes. However, co-use groups experienced smaller reductions in non-tobacco-specific toxicants and carcinogens compared to the cigarette-only group, potentially because of combustible cannabis use. Additionally, those who co-use and switched to VLNC may be susceptible to slight increases in cannabis use (approximately two more days per year).
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Nicotine & tobacco research : official journal of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco|
|State||Published - Apr 6 2023|
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
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PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Journal Article
- Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
- Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.