“The sooner the better”

| October 6, 2017

Dorothy Hatsukami

Reducing the nicotine content of cigarettes immediately is a better approach toward tobacco harm reduction than reducing nicotine gradually, according to a new study by Dorothy Hatsukami, co-director of the Center for the Evaluation of Nicotine in Cigarettes and director of the tobacco research programs at the University of Minnesota.

Hatsukami presented the findings of her study, which is still under peer review, at Vermont Center on Behavior and Health’s fifth annual conference on tobacco regulatory science in Burlington, Vermont, Oct. 5-6.

The study took place over 20 weeks and included 1,250 participants. Smokers were split into three groups. The first group received very-low-nicotine cigarettes immediately; the second were gradually exposed to lower nicotine cigarettes; while the third group smoked normal-nicotine-content cigarettes.

The study data indicate that compensatory smoking is less likely to occur with an immediate reduction in nicotine, according to Hatsukami. In addition, there was a “greater likelihood of more rapid smoking cessation” with the immediate approach to nicotine reduction.

Well Fargo analyst Bonnie Herzog said that Hatsukami’s findings could potentially create near-term “headline risk” for tobacco stocks because investors may worry that this could precipitate sharper declines in combustible cigarette volumes.

“However, we continue to believe this would only accelerate conversion to reduced-risk product, such as iQOS, which does not appear to have been a part of Hatsukami’s study,” she wrote.

On July 28, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that the agency would be exercising its authority under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act to mandate lower nicotine—at “non-addictive levels”—in all combustible cigarettes sold in the United States.

Category: Breaking News

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