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Nicotine dependence, nicotine metabolism, and the extent of compensation in response to reduced nicotine content cigarettes

  • Author(s): Bandiera, FC
  • Ross, KC
  • Taghavi, S
  • Delucchi, K
  • Tyndale, RF
  • Benowitz, NL
  • et al.

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© The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco. All rights reserved. Introduction: The Food and Drug Administration has the authority to regulate tobacco product constituents, including nicotine, to promote public health. Reducing the nicotine content in cigarettes may lead to lower levels of addiction. Smokers however may compensate by smoking more cigarettes and/or smoking more intensely. The objective of this study was to test whether individual differences in the level of nicotine dependence (as measured by the Fagerstrom Test of Cigarette Dependence [FTCD]) and/or the rate of nicotine metabolism influence smoking behavior and exposure to tobacco toxicants when smokers are switched to reduced nicotine content cigarettes (RNC). Methods: Data from 51 participants from a previously published clinical trial of RNC were analyzed. Nicotine content of cigarettes was progressively reduced over 6 months and measures of smoking behavior, as well as nicotine metabolites and tobacco smoke toxicant exposure, CYP2A6 and nicotinic CHRNA5-A3-B4 (rs1051730) genotype were measured. Results: Higher baseline FTCD predicted smoking more cigarettes per day (CPD), higher cotinine and smoke toxicant levels while smoking RNC throughout the study, with no interaction by RNC level. Time to first cigarette (TFC) was associated with differences in compensation. TFC within 10 min was associated with a greater increase in CPD compared to TFC greater than 10 min. Neither rate of nicotine metabolism, nor CYP2A6 or nicotinic receptor genotype, had an effect on the outcome variables of interest. Conclusions: FTCD is associated with overall exposure to nicotine and other constituents of tobacco smoke, while a short TFC is associated with an increased compensatory response after switching to RNC.

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