Smoking cigarettes can turn addictive over time, and it is a vice that has led to many’s deaths. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveal roughly 48,000 cigarette smoking-related deaths annually. Addiction to nicotine through cigarette smoking, therefore, increases the likelihood of death.
Researchers from the Johns Hopkins University and Brown University recently published a study on nicotine content. The study findings published in JAMA Network Open suggest that lower nicotine content in cigarettes reduces the likelihood of addiction. The findings seem to concur with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) plan to enforce a policy that will lower nicotine content in cigarettes.
The study’s goal was to determine whether lowering the nicotine content in cigarettes would cause less nicotine dependence, especially in individuals with psychiatric disorders. The researchers also wanted to see whether reducing the nicotine content would cause a drop in smoking rates. The study featured 3 randomized, double-blind clinical trials at John Hopkins, Brown, and UVM from October 2016 to September 2019.
How the researchers came to a conclusion in the study
The study kept track of 775 individuals who smoke daily who also have a socioeconomic disadvantage, opioid disorder, and affective disorders. The researchers also made sure that the participants were not actively trying to quit smoking. Participants were also provided with research cigarettes that had 0.4 mg of nicotine per gram of tobacco or 2.4 mg of nicotine per gram. The subjects were also provided with cigarettes with 15.8 mg of nicotine per gram of tobacco, which is higher nicotine content.
The researchers observed that received cigarettes with very low nicotine content lowered their daily smoking rate by 30 percent. The severity of their nicotine dependence also decreased compared to those who smoked cigarettes with high nicotine content.
Dr. Stephen T. Higgins, one of the lead investigators in the study, stated that lower dependence severity and lower smoking rates are among the two major factors observed in individuals who successfully quit smoking. Dr. Higgins noted that the findings point to lowering nicotine levels as an important step towards minimizing cigarette addiction.