BackgroundReducing nicotine content in cigarettes and other combustible products to levels that are not reinforcing or addictive has the potential to substantially reduce tobacco-related morbidity and mortality. The authority to reduce nicotine levels as a regulatory measure is provided in the U.S. Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act and is consistent with the general regulatory powers envisioned under the relevant articles of the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Many experts have considered reducing nicotine in cigarettes to be a feasible national policy approach, but more research is necessary.
PurposeThis article describes proceedings from a conference that had the goals of identifying specific research gaps, describing methods and measures to consider for addressing these gaps, and considering ways to foster collaboration.
Results and conclusionIdentified research gaps included determining the dose of nicotine that would be optimal for reducing and extinguishing cigarette use, examining approaches for reducing nicotine levels in the general and special populations of smokers, understanding how constituents other than nicotine may contribute to the reinforcing effects of tobacco, and identifying unintended consequences to determine ways to mitigate them. Methods that can be used ranged from brain imaging to large human clinical trials. The development and availability of valid biomarkers of exposure and effect are important. Infrastructures to facilitate collaboration need to be established.