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Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1997 May-Jun;57(1-2):159-65.

Nicotine-containing versus de-nicotinized cigarettes: effects on craving and withdrawal.

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Behavioral Pharmacology Research Unit, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21224, USA.


Nicotine exposure levels and subjective effects from smoking a de-nicotinized cigarette (Next) were examined under controlled conditions. Ten tobacco smokers smoked 20 puffs from their own brand (1.1 mg nicotine delivery, commercial cigarettes), a 0.7 mg nicotine "light" cigarette, or the Next de-nicotinized cigarette (< 0.1 mg nicotine) during independent experimental test sessions. The Next cigarette did not deliver and appreciable nicotine, did not elevate heart rate during smoking, and was rated as less satisfying than the smokers' own brand. Subjective ratings of cigarette carving and tobacco withdrawal symptoms increased during a 90 min post-smoking abstinence period. However, there were no measurable differences on these subjective ratings across the three cigarette test brands. It is concluded that nicotine can be removed from cigarettes without affecting the onset time course or intensity of cigarette cravings and other tobacco withdrawal symptoms in an acute abstinence model. Further studies to determine the subjective and physiological effects of nicotine-free cigarettes would contribute to a greater understanding of tobacco withdrawal and the processes involved in smoking maintenance.

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