Reducing the relative value of cigarettes: Considerations for nicotine and non-nicotine factors

Cassidy M. White, Dorothy K. Hatsukami, Eric C. Donny

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Despite notable progress in recent decades, cigarette smoke persists as a leading cause of premature death and preventable disease. To weaken the link between nicotine reinforcement and the toxicity associated with combusted tobacco, the United States Food and Drug Administration is considering a product standard targeting cigarette nicotine content. In this review, we summarize research assessing the potential impacts of reducing nicotine in cigarettes. Evidence to date suggests cigarette smoking, toxicant exposure and dependence would decline following substantial reductions in nicotine content. However, reduced nicotine content may not eliminate smoking entirely. Regulatory efforts that shape the nicotine and tobacco marketplace should consider that non-nicotine reinforcing factors and decision-making biases can contribute to the value of smoking. The impact of reducing nicotine in cigarettes will likely depend on the alternative nicotine products available to current smokers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number108200
StatePublished - Sep 15 2020


  • Low nicotine cigarettes
  • Nicotine dependence
  • Nicotine reduction
  • Tobacco regulatory science

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Review

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