University of Minnesota study says cutting nicotine levels quickly is most effective

The FDA is considering a rule that would sharply reduce nicotine levels in cigarettes.

Laura Oakes
September 04, 2018 - 5:54 pm

The University of Minnesota is helping the federal government figure out how best to help people stop smoking.

The Food and Drug Administration wants to know what works best —gradually weaning smokers off nicotine or doing it more quickly. The reason: the agency is currently considering a rule that would sharply reduce nicotine levels in cigarettes as well as other tobacco products.

U of M lead investigator Dr. Dorothy Hatsukami says they found a quicker approach to nicotine reduction is better for smokers in the long run.

"It is a little bit of pain and it's transient, but there are a lot of medicinal products smokers can seek out to help with the withdrawal symptoms. But in the long term, it would probably be more beneficial to public health if we did have a more immediate nicotine reduction approach," said Hatsukami.

The study, published in the The Journal of the American Medical Association, involved more than 12-hundred smokers across 10 universities. Hatsukami calls it extraordinarily exciting.

 "It has the potential to avert millions of lives that are lost to smoking-related diseases. So it's hopefully something the FDA will move on should they find evidence to support it. "