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Drug Alcohol Depend. 2008 May 1;95(1-2):164-8. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2007.12.002. Epub 2008 Jan 31.

Cigarette reduction: an intervention for adolescent smokers.

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  • 1University of Minnesota, Tobacco Use Research Center, Minneapolis, MN 55414, USA.


This observational study examined whether adolescents who were not interested in quitting could reduce cigarette smoking and if cigarette reduction led to a corresponding and significant reduction in biomarkers of exposure. The study design was a randomized, open-label trial of nicotine patch and nicotine gum with an added placebo control. Participants (n=103) attended 4 treatment visits over 4 weeks and follow-up visits at 3- and 6-months. Participants were told to reduce their smoking by 25% of baseline smoking during the 1st week and by 50% of baseline smoking during the subsequent 3 weeks. Of consented participants, 91.3% (n=94/103) completed the study until the end-of-treatment, 85.1% (n=80/94) completed the 3-month follow-up visit and 71.3% (n=67/94) completed the 6-month follow-up visit. Participants had a very high prevalence of co-morbidity. With regard to the percentage of participants who achieved a 50% reduction of baseline smoking, there were no significant differences among treatment groups (p=.89). At the end-of-treatment, 49.4% of participants (n=41) had reduced smoking by at least 50%. Additionally, there was no significant group, visit or interaction effect of a biomarker measure for carcinogen exposure (p>.05). The results suggest that reduction may be a potential aid to engage adolescents who are unable or unwilling to quit, but should not be an end goal. The effect of treatment methods on outcome measures did not differ significantly.

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