Lower Nicotine Tobacco May Help in Quitting

A Massachusetts company, 22nd Century Group, a biotechnology company, is making genetically altered tobacco to lower the amount of nicotine while keeping the taste and smell of the cigarette.   Researchers are using The Spectrum brand cigarettes to find ways to regulate the nicotine in the cigarettes so they are nonaddictive.  Before you go looking for this special brand, it is made for researchers only at this time.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) bought about nine million of these cigarettes for a series of studies.  The cigarettes have eight different levels of nicotine, from 3 percent to 100 percent, such as that found in Marlboro Gold cigarettes.  One study, which will use about 1.5 million of these newly purchased cigarettes, will follow 500 smokers over six months.  Researchers want to know if the smokers who switch to this low nicotine brand are more likely to quit quickly or gradually.  Researchers are encouraged enough in the studies that they plan on going into Phase 3 clinical trials.  Phase 2 tested the effectiveness on humans, and Phase 3 will measure both effectiveness and safety.

A 2009 law gave the Food and Drug Administration authority over tobacco products, although they cannot ban nicotine.  The FDA can, however, require nicotine levels be reduced to extremely low levels if it can prove it benefits public health.

The tobacco companies are once again sending out warnings to alert the public that lower nicotine levels could result in unexpected side effects of addiction withdrawal, yet in a 1994 hearing before Congress, seven tobacco company chief executive officers declared under oath that nicotine was not addictive.  This past year the Philip Morris CEO even stated that it’s “not that hard to quit.”

Giving up smoking and nicotine is difficult, but it can be done.  The FDA, NIH and 22nd Century Group, are working together to try and find the balance that will allow smokers to give up their addiction once and for all.

You can take a step toward a healthier life by giving up smoking and tobacco.  Reaching out to kids before they start is still the best prevention.  The Florida Statewide Tobacco Prevention and Intervention Teacher Training course is a great way for educators to help students learn about the dangers of tobacco.  This free, on-line course is available to you at your own pace 24/7, and provides up to 60 teacher in-service credits as approved by your district.  You must have a current Florida DOE Certificate.  Check us out at www.tobaccopreventiontraining.org.

Check here for entire story.

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