News on Wellness

Low-Nicotine Cigarettes: Smoking Cessation Easier ?

Secondhand smokeAccording to the latest statistics, more than 42 million people in the United States alone smoke. Although there has been some reduction in the number of people using tobacco products, this habit continues to be a problem. After all, smoking equates to inhaling more than 4,000 chemicals, 43 of those known to be cancer causing, but also 400 additional toxins to include nicotine, tar, carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, arsenic, ammonia, and more.

There are thousands upon thousands of people who start smoking daily, as well as a significant number of current smokers who want to quit. To help, low-nicotine cigarettes were developed with the goal of making it easier to stop. As anticipated, it appears through multiple studies that these cigarettes may not lead to more smoking because of low nicotine levels.

One concern when low nicotine cigarettes were first introduced was that people would smoke more to get the needed “fix” but according to a new study, this may not be the case. Obviously, smoking less reduces a long list of health risks because fewer toxins are being inhaled.

This study included 72 adult smokers between the ages of 18 and 65 and those who smoked regularly with nicotine emission levels of 1.2 milligrams weekly. For three weeks out of the month-long study, participants changed from their normal cigarettes to smoking lower nicotine cigarettes. With this, there was a gradual lowering of nicotine emission levels, to include 0.6, 0.3, and 0.05 milligrams, or less.

Throughout the study, the number of cigarettes and puffs remained the same. Also, both breath and urine samples were taken at the end of each week. The outcome of this study was provided in the August 22 publication of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, which stated that from breath samples, no change in carbon monoxide level was noted and from the urine samples, the potentially cancer-causing chemical known as 1-hydroxypyrene was also unchanged.

It was also reported that participants were either unwilling or unable to be flexible when cigarettes had significantly less nicotine levels but also when the overall experience of smoking was less rewarding. While not yet been determined, researchers involved in the study hope all the findings will make it easier for regulators to see potential consequences of mandated reductions in cigarette nicotine.

Although several concerns have been raised that people who smoke will be exposed to higher levels of toxic chemicals while trying to draw more nicotine from lower-nicotine cigarettes, this study might dispute that belief. It was also noted by David Hammond, study author and associate professor at the University of Waterloo’s School of Public Health and Healthy Systems that because of the 2009 Tobacco Act, the United States Food and Drug Administration or FDA requires reduced levels of nicotine to be in negligible amounts.

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