Cigarette reduction has been proposed as a treatment goal for smokers who are not interested in stopping completely. This randomized controlled trial was designed to determine the effect of a smoking reduction intervention on smoking behavior, symptoms of heart disease, and biomarkers of tobacco exposure. It included 152 patients with heart disease who did not intend to stop smoking in the next 30 days. Participants were randomly assigned to smoking reduction (SR) or usual care (UC). SR subjects received counseling and nicotine replacement therapy to encourage ≥50% reduction in cigarettes per day (CPD). They were followed at 1, 3, 6, 12 and 18 months to assess smoking, heart disease symptoms, quality of life and nicotine, cotinine, carbon monoxide (CO), white blood cell (WBC) count, fibrinogen, hs-C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), F2-isoprostane, 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanol and its glucuronides (total NNAL), and 1-hydroxypyrene (1-HOP). At 6 months SR participants reduced by 10.9 CPD, compared with 7.4 CPD in UC (difference NS). At 18 months, 9/78 SR vs. 9/74 UC participants quit smoking. There were no significant differences between treatment groups in angina, quality of life or adverse events, nicotine, cotinine, CO, WBC count, fibrinogen, hs-CRP, F2-isoprostane, total NNAL or 1-HOP levels at any time point. To determine if smoking reduction, regardless of treatment condition, was associated with improved outcomes, we compared all subjects at 6 months to baseline (mean reduction in CPD from 27.4 to 18.1, p<.01). There were no significant changes in outcome variables except CO, which decreased by 5.5 ppm (p<.01). There were also no significant improvements considering only subjects who reduced by ≥50%, or those who had no history of reduction prior to enrollment in the study. The SR intervention did not significantly reduce CPD or toxin exposure, or improve smoking cessation or clinical outcomes compared to UC. These results emphasize the importance of abstinence for smokers with heart disease to minimize health risks from tobacco.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)471-481
Number of pages11
JournalNicotine and Tobacco Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2008


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