Scientists seek unfiltered truth about 'light' cigarettes
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IMAGE: Warren Bickel (right), the director of the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute Addiction Recovery Research Center, along with VTCRI co-investigators Jeff Stein (left) and Mikhail Koffarnus, are determined to discover… view more 

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Credit: David Hungate/Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute

Would banning ventilated filters on cigarettes protect public health?

Scientists from multiple institutions, including a group of addiction neuroscience researchers from the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, are gathering evidence under funding from the National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Institute to potentially inform a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) decision about whether to recommend design changes to filtered cigarettes.

Warren Bickel, the Virginia Tech Carilion Behavioral Health Research Professor and the director of the VTCRI Addiction Recovery Research Center, along with VTCRI co-investigators and research assistant professors Mikhail Koffarnus and Jeff Stein, are spearheading one of three integrated projects involving teams of multidisciplinary investigators, all determined to discover whether ventilated filters on cigarettes have been a boon or bane to public health.

VTCRI scientists will focus on how ventilated filters on cigarettes, product packaging, and messaging have affected cigarette use, and also how alternative nicotine delivery systems — such as electronic cigarettes — can be used to modify smoking behavior.

“My piece of the

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