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Nicotine addiction slashed in test of new cigarette smoking strategy
Date:11/13/2007

Scientists are reporting the first successful strategy to reduce smokers nicotine dependence while allowing them to continue smoking. The study provides strong support for proposals now being considered in Congress to authorize FDA regulation of cigarette smoking, according to the research team.

The key to the clinical trials success was providing smokers with cigarettes of gradually decreasing nicotine content over a number of weeks. If such cigarettes were federally mandated, smokers would find it easier to quit, and more young smokers could avoid addiction, according to the scientists. Tobacco company products marketed as low-nicotine alternatives, in fact, do not change the level of nicotine taken in by smokers, they added.

The research was carried out by scientists at UCSF and San Francisco General Hospital Medical Center and is reported in the November 14 issue of the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Legislation giving the FDA authority to regulate tobacco products is currently being considered in Congress. Such regulatory authority would empower the agency to develop and enforce standards to make cigarettes less harmful -- including the reduction of the nicotine yields so that cigarettes would be less addictive, said Neal Benowitz, MD, leader of the study team and an expert on the pharmacology and health effects of nicotine and other smoking products.

Smoking and health experts have been concerned that reducing the nicotine content of cigarettes would lead to smoking a greater number of cigarettes and therefore increased exposure to other tobacco smoke toxins, as is seen in smokers of the currently marketed low-nicotine yield cigarettes, Benowitz said. The new research on reduced-nicotine content cigarettes strongly counters that prediction.

In the study, 20 healthy adult smokers smoked their usual brand for a week and then followed a six-week regimen of smoking cigarettes with progress
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Contact: Wallace Ravven
wravven@pubaff.ucsf.edu
415-476-2557
University of California - San Francisco
Source:Eurekalert

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