Maintain levels of nicotine but reduce other smoke constituents: a formula for "less-hazardous" cigarettes?Prev Med. 1984 Sep; 13(5):438-45.PM
Twenty-two volunteers who smoked more than 20 cigarettes with "high" nicotine yields (0.8 to 1.2 mg) per day participated in an 8-week study designed to test the hypothesis that smoking cigarettes with a constant level of nicotine but reduced deliveries of tar, carbon monoxide, and hydrogen cyanide leads to a decrease in smoke absorption. All subjects smoked their usual high-nicotine brand for the first 3 weeks (P1), and the absorption of smoke constituents was determined from levels of thiocyanate and cotinine in saliva and serum, levels of carbon monoxide in expired air, and levels of carboxyhemoglobin in the blood. During the final 5 weeks (P2), the treatment group (16 subjects) switched to the "light" version of their usual brands (similar yields of nicotine but with reduced yields of tar, carbon monoxide, and hydrogen cyanide); the control group (6 subjects) smoked their usual brands for the duration of the study. Average levels of cotinine for the subjects who switched during P2 were not significantly different from those of the control group as was expected. Slight reductions were noted in average expired-air carbon monoxide levels, blood carboxyhemoglobin, and saliva thiocyanate, but these reductions were smaller than anticipated based on brand characteristics. The results suggest that the ratio of smoke constituents is different when individuals, rather than machines, smoke cigarettes. Yields determined under subject-defined conditions are necessary in order to properly evaluate the role of nicotine in the design of "less-hazardous" cigarettes.