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Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2013 Nov;230(2):261-6. doi: 10.1007/s00213-013-3150-5. Epub 2013 Jun 10.

Compensation predicts smoking cessation failure.

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  • 1The Schroeder Institute for Tobacco Research and Policy Studies at Legacy, 1724 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, DC, 20036, USA,



Compensation is a potential result of decreasing the available nicotine and tar dose in cigarettes. There is little published data linking compensation with cessation.


We sought to examine whether compensation in response to restricted cigarette yield is associated with difficulty quitting smoking.


Questionnaires and blood samples were collected from 174 smokers interested in quitting smoking as part of a larger smoking cessation study. Participants were instructed to use a filter designed to remove 50 % of tar and nicotine from the cigarette but otherwise smoke normally. Participants returned after 3 days of using the filter for follow-up data collection.


Nicotine levels and cigarettes per day decreased after use of the filter. Baseline nicotine and change in nicotine pre/post filter use, but not cigarettes per day or change in cigarettes per day were associated with smoking abstinence at 30 days.


Smokers who demonstrate sensitivity to the biological or behavioral consequences of decreased nicotine content in tobacco smoke have greater difficulty quitting. These findings suggest the need for personalized cessation treatment linked to behavioral compensation.

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