• Biomarkers of exposure;
  • compensatory smoking;
  • nicotine dependence;
  • reduced nicotine cigarettes;
  • tobacco cessation;
  • tobacco withdrawal


Aims  To examine the effects of reduced nicotine cigarettes on smoking behavior, toxicant exposure, dependence and abstinence.

Design  Randomized, parallel arm, semi-blinded study.

Setting  University of Minnesota Tobacco Use Research Center.

Interventions  Six weeks of: (i) 0.05 mg nicotine yield cigarettes; (ii) 0.3 mg nicotine yield cigarettes; or (iii) 4 mg nicotine lozenge; 6 weeks of follow-up.

Measurements  Compensatory smoking behavior, biomarkers of exposure, tobacco dependence, tobacco withdrawal and abstinence rate.

Findings  Unlike the 0.3 mg cigarettes, 0.05 mg cigarettes were not associated with compensatory smoking behaviors. Furthermore, the 0.05 mg cigarettes and nicotine lozenge were associated with reduced carcinogen exposure, nicotine dependence and product withdrawal scores. The 0.05 mg cigarette was associated with greater relief of withdrawal from usual brand cigarettes than the nicotine lozenge. The 0.05 mg cigarette led to a significantly higher rate of cessation than the 0.3 mg cigarette and a similar rate as nicotine lozenge.

Conclusion  The 0.05 mg nicotine yield cigarettes may be a tobacco product that can facilitate cessation; however, future research is clearly needed to support these preliminary findings.