Low Nicotine Cigarettes!

iStock_000000382250_MediumGood news for anyone who's trying to stop smoking as well as all the rest of us who abhor the habit:  turns out smoking low nicotine, and I do mean low, cigarettes results in people cutting back or stopping without really trying, a study Rick and I discuss on PodMed this week as published in NEJM demonstrates.  And high time, we agree, for the FDA to begin regulating the nicotine content of cigarettes, as it is empowered to do and now has persuasive data to support such an action.

A total of 780 people who smoked at least five cigarettes per day and had no intention of quitting were enrolled in this six-week randomized trial. They were assigned to their usual brand or a cigarette containing 15.8 mg per gram of tobacco, the usual dose, or  to cigarettes containing 2.4, 1.3, or 0.4 mg of nicotine per gram of tobacco.  At the end of six weeks, those smokers in the low nicotine groups were smoking significantly fewer cigarettes than those in the control or usual brand groups, and some had made attempts to quit altogether.  Symptoms of withdrawal did not vary substantially among groups nor did any adverse events.  In short, the low nicotine cigarettes seem like good tools to enable smokers to move toward quitting without much downside.

Other topics this week, also in NEJM, include a look at cardiometabolic risk factors in obese children, and treatment of cancer during pregnancy with regard to outcomes for the child, and in the BMJ, an exhaustive meta-analysis once again concluding that for the majority, calcium supplementation should be abandoned.  Until next week, y'all live well.

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