In a small, controlled investigation of almost 135 smokers between the ages of 18 and 70, smokers who switched to cigs with tobacco products that contains much less nicotine did not influenced by smoking more tobacco products and inhaling more tar and toxins. “The new idea is to lessen people’s nicotine intake, so that they get used to the lower levels, and recently get to the point where smoking tobacco is no longer pleasing,” declared UCSF nicotine scientist Neal Benowitz, who led the research.

The new research results differ greatly from those obtained in other studies conducted years earlier by Benowitz and others on previous generations of so-called low-nicotine delivery cigs.

UCSF has long been a leader in exploring new plans for smoking cessation, in exposing tobacco industry business practices, in designing public health programs associated to tobacco products, and in conducting biological study aimed at better understanding smoking addiction and sensitivity.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has the authority to control the nicotine volume of cigs sold in the United States, but has not yet moved to do so. According to Benowitz, a member of the agency’s Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee, there is indecision to act in the absence of more scientific findings.

Nevertheless, recent groundbreaking investigations by Benowitz and others have increased hopes that a new type of low-nicotine cig could help smokers quit and also prevent nicotine addiction among young tobacco experimenters. The FDA, along with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) now has allocated funds for larger researches — not yet begun — to further investigate the new plan.