To quit, 'nicotine-free' smokes as good as lozenges study finds..

Smokers who used the nicotine-free cigarettes before quitting were as likely not to be smoking six weeks later as those who used nicotine lozenges.

PAPER: Reduced nicotine content cigarettes: effects on toxicant exposure, dependence and cessation, Dorothy K.Hatsukami (, Michael Kotlyar, Louise A. Hertsgaard, Yan Zhang, Steven G. Carmella, Joni A. Jensen, Sharon S. Allen, Peter G. Shields, Sharon E. Murphy, Irina Stepanov and Stephen S.Hecht,
ADDICTION 105(2)343-355, 2010 (published online: 01/11/2010, ABSTRACT..

Hatsukami's team compared smoking habits and rates of quitting in 165 mostly middle-age men and women who had smoked for an average of about 15 years, reported multiple previous attempts to quit, and appeared highly motivated to try again. The investigators supplied nicotine-free cigarettes to 53 participants and identical looking low-nicotine cigarettes to another 52. Each group was to solely smoke supplied cigarettes for 6 weeks, then quit. The remaining participants went cold turkey and used nicotine lozenges for 6 weeks. Urine and lung tests in those who completed the study showed 19 in the nicotine-free group and 12 in the lozenge group abstinent after 6 weeks. Just 7 in the low-nicotine group were not smoking at that point.

Compared with the low-nicotine group, the nicotine-free smokers had lower levels of tobacco-related toxins and symptoms of withdrawal, though both groups reported similar cravings. As scientists have suspected, low-nicotine cigarette smokers were more likely to compensate their withdrawal by smoking more cigarettes. Nicotine-free cigarette smokers were not. Hatsukami noted that nicotine-free cigarettes are currently not available for sale in stores in the United States but can be found online.

The authors note that, the results from this one small study aren't enough to suggest that smokers should use nicotine-free cigarettes instead of nicotine lozenges. Part of what limits the conclusions scientists can draw from the study is that a third of the smoking group and half the lozenge dropped out during the course of it.

References: To quit, nicotine-free' smokes as good as lozenges by Joene Hendry, Reuters, 2/12/2010..; Research shows nicotine-free cigs can help quitters by Raghav Mehta,, 2/15. 2010.