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Evaluation of Very Low Nicotine Content Cigarettes in Adolescent Smokers

Principal Investigator: Rachel N. Cassidy

Funding Mechanism: Intra-Departmental Delegation of Authority (IDDA)

ID Number: 1K01CA189300-01

Award Date: 9/8/2014

Institution:  Brown University


Reducing cigarette nicotine content to a non-addictive level could reduce smoking rates by making cigarettes less reinforcing. However, little is known about the effects of very low nicotine content (VLNC) cigarettes on adolescent smoking behavior. Specific aims are: (1) to compare the effects of cigarettes varying in nicotine content on abstinence-induced craving and withdrawal, risk perceptions, product acceptability, and demand for usual brand cigarettes; and (2) to compare the effects of cigarettes varying in nicotine content on measures of smoking behavior and toxicant exposure in adolescent smokers aged 13-18. To accomplish Aim 1, researchers will compare the effects of cigarettes varying in nicotine content (normal nicotine content [0.83 mg per cigarette], moderate and low nicotine content [0.28 mg, 0.10 mg per cigarette] and very low nicotine content [0.06 mg per cigarette]) on abstinence-induced craving and withdrawal, affect, risk perceptions, product acceptability, and demand for usual brand cigarettes in 78 adolescent daily smokers. To accomplish Aim 2, researchers will randomize 90 adolescent smokers to either receive VLNC cigarettes or normal nicotine content (0.83 mg) research cigarettes for three weeks. Researchers will conduct daily assessments of total cigarette use, craving, and withdrawal; weekly assessments of breath carbon monoxide levels, cigarette acceptability, risk perceptions of VLNC and normal nicotine content cigarettes, and demand for usual-brand cigarettes; and pre- vs. post-use measures of nicotine and toxicant exposure (cotinine and 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanol [NNAL]). By illuminating how VLNC cigarettes affect real-world smoking behavior in adolescents, research findings may inform future policy decisions.


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