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PSU TCORS: Free Radical Exposure and Oxidative Stress from Conventional and Reduced Nicotine Cigarettes

Principal Investigator: John Richie

Funding Mechanism: National Institutes of Health- TCORS Grant

ID number: 1P50DA036107-01

Award Date: 9/30/2013

Institution: Pennsylvania State University


Oxidative stress from tobacco smoke exposure has a widespread impact on many critical cellular pathways, including cell proliferation, survival and inflammation. A major source of smoking-related oxidative stress is from exposure to free radicals such as reactive oxygen and nitrogen species, which play fundamental roles in the development of many diseases including cancer and heart disease. An assessment of free radical exposure and oxidative stress is critical to help gauge the relative harm of current and new tobacco products. This project will evaluate free radical exposure and oxidative stress associated with the use of conventional and reduced nicotine cigarettes, via a series of laboratory-based machine smoking studies and product switch intervention studies in healthy adult smokers (aged 21 or older).  Specific aims include: (1) to determine the free radical content of mainstream tobacco smoke from popular U.S. menthol and non-menthol cigarettes as well as newer and developing low and ultra-low nicotine products; (2) to determine if smoking behavior in 80 smokers is impacted by switching to lower nicotine or lower free radical products, and if behavior changes lead to altered exposure to tobacco smoke free radicals; and (3) to determine if 108 smokers who switch from their usual high nicotine/free radical products to low nicotine or low free radical products exhibit increased or decreased levels of oxidative stress and damage. Together, these studies will result in a comparative assessment of exposure to toxic and harmful free radicals for smokers of different tobacco products. This project constitutes the first formal assessment of exposure of smokers of different tobacco products to toxic and harmful free radicals and has the potential to inform regulatory decisions intended to limit user exposure to these toxic agents.


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