Cigarettes with very low nicotine levels could have huge benefits in cutting smoking rates, according to a New Zealand study out Tuesday.
The University of Auckland study showed no evidence to support concerns that smokers would simply smoke low-nicotine cigarettes more intensively than normal cigarettes, said researchers.
"Cigarette smoking continues to devastate the health and lives of smokers resulting in an urgent need to reduce smoking rates in New Zealand and many other regions of the world," study co-author Professor Chris Bullen said.
"One way to reduce smoking is to make it less addictive by greatly reducing how much nicotine is in the tobacco people smoke."
Reducing the nicotine content of cigarettes had the potential to produce huge benefits with minimal harm by enabling current smokers to stop smoking and preventing youth from being dependent on cigarettes.
"The approach aims to break the link between nicotine addiction and the use of burned tobacco which results in such harmful effects on health," said Bullen.
The use of cigarettes with very low nicotine content by current smokers had many potential benefits, from decreasing overall nicotine intake, decreasing cigarette dependence and the number of cigarettes smoked per day and increasing the likelihood of making and succeeding with a quit attempt.
"Concerns that people smoke these cigarettes more intensively are not supported by the research evidence," said Bullen.