The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an advanced notice of a proposed rule in March that would reduce nicotine in all cigarettes and possibly other burned tobacco products sold in the U.S. to minimally addictive levels. Reducing nicotine in cigarettes does not make the cigarette safer, but because nicotine is the addictive chemical in tobacco, nicotine reduction would reduce the progression towards tobacco dependence and make it easier for smokers to quit smoking.
A new study conducted by the University of Minnesota and eight additional institutions recently published in the JAMA adds to the accumulating evidence to support this proposal and addresses whether a gradual reduction or a targeted immediate reduction in nicotine in cigarettes is the best approach.
In a large clinical trial involving 1,250 smokers across 10 academic institutions, immediate reduction of nicotine was compared to a gradual nicotine reduction. These two groups were also compared to smokers who continued to smoke usual nicotine content cigarettes.
Key findings include:
Immediate nicotine reduction is likely to result in more rapid positive public health effects. Smokers in the immediate reduction group experienced significantly less exposure to toxic cigarette smoke chemicals and reported smoking fewer cigarettes per day, less
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