Smoking can be described as the leading cause of preventable deaths. The government has tried out different methods to get smokers to quit or at least bring the numbers down. The agencies had mixed success in its efforts. One such method is to reduce the levels of nicotine in the cigarette. However a group of experts felt that lower Nicotine levels can provoke smokers to smoke more to compensate the falling nicotine levels in the blood.
A study by the researchers from University of Waterloo found out that smoking cigarette with low levels of nicotine did not provoke the smokers from smoking more than usual.
Professor David Hammond, of the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences at Waterloo, and lead author on the paper said, “One of the primary barriers to reducing nicotine levels is the belief that individuals who continue to smoke will smoke more cigarettes in an effort to extract the same nicotine levels, thereby exposing themselves to greater amounts of toxic chemicals. Our findings suggest this is not the case. The smokers were unable or unwilling to compensate when there was markedly less nicotine in the cigarette and when the experience of smoking is far less rewarding.”
The study involved participation of 72 adult smokers, who were given three different types of cigarettes with varying levels of nicotine. The cigarettes, Quest 1, Quest 2 and Quest 3 had nicotine levels at 8.9, 8.4 and 0.6 mg respectively. An average cigarette has 12 mg of nicotine. The smoking behavior as well as the number of cigarettes smoked was measured. The researchers also measured the levels of toxic chemicals in the smokers’ bodies.
The study revealed that smokers did not try to compensate the lower levels of nicotine by smoking more. Their toxic levels also did not change depending on which cigarette they smoked. Hence the research team deduced that making reduced nicotine cigarettes has a role to play in reducing cigarette addiction and could also possibly lead to smoking cessation.