Responses to Gradual and Immediate Reduction of Nicotine in Cigarettes in Young vs. Older Adult Smokers.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

INTRODUCTION: As the FDA works to determine whether a nicotine reduction policy would benefit public health, one key question is whether to mandate an immediate or gradual reduction in nicotine levels in cigarettes. The aim of this study was to determine whether the effects of gradual vs. immediate nicotine reduction on cigarettes per day (CPD), total nicotine equivalents (TNEs), , and subjective responses differed in younger vs. older adults. METHODS: Using data from a recent randomized trial conducted in the US (N=1250) that switched smokers over a 20-week period to very low nicotine content (VLNC) cigarettes either immediately, gradually( via monthly reductions in nicotine content) or not at all (control condition, normal nicotine content research cigarette) , we analyzed the moderating effect of age (age 18-24 or 25+). RESULTS: For both age groups, CPD in the immediate condition was significantly lower relative to gradual (estimated mean difference of 6.3 CPD in young adults, 5.2 CPD in older adults; p's <.05). Younger and older adults in the immediate and gradual reduction conditions had lower TNEs at Week 20 (all p's <.05) than those in the control condition; age group did not moderate this effect. Positive subjective responses to cigarettes were lower among young adults relative to older adults in the immediate condition. CONCLUSIONS: These results indicate that an immediate reduction in nicotine would result in beneficial effects in both young and older adults. Young adults show less positive subjective effects of smoking following switching to VLNC cigarettes relative to older adults.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Cassidy, RN; Tidey, JW; Cao, Q; Colby, SM; McClernon, FJ; Smith, TT; Dermody, S; Koopmeiners, JS; Jensen, JA; Strayer, LG; Donny, EC; Hatsukami, D

Published Date

  • March 23, 2021

Published In

PubMed ID

  • 33754156

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1469-994X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1093/ntr/ntab049


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England