health day reporter
Friday, Nov. 4, 2022 (HealthDay News) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has proposed limiting the amount of nicotine in cigarettes to minimally addictive levels, but there are concerns that the drop in nicotine could increase anxiety among smokers , they may have battled emotional problems.
However, a new study shows that while the nicotine level is 5% of the normal dose were able Help anxious or depressed smokers quit smoking so they don’t increase the mood or anxiety problems that cause them to smoke.
“The switch to very low-nicotine cigarettes does not appear to have any worrying unintended consequences,” said lead researcher Jonathan Folders, a professor of public health sciences and psychiatry at Penn State School of Medicine.
“Instead, the results appear to be that when relatively brief follow-up appointments and nicotine replacement therapy help are provided, smokers feel less addicted to cigarettes and are more able to quit,” he said.
Foulds said smokers with mood and anxiety disorders showed no signs of “excessive use” of very low-nicotine cigarettes, nor did they show any signs that switching to these cigarettes would worsen their mental health.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has proposed limiting the amount of nicotine in cigarettes to minimally addictive levels. Doing so not only reduces addiction, but also reduces exposure to toxic substances and increases the chances of quitting smoking, Foulds said.
In 2019, the FDA approved two low-nicotine cigarettes, Moonlight and Moonlight Menthol, made by 22nd Century Group, Inc. Foulds said these brands are being tested in the market, but are not widespread.
“In order to protect public health, it is appropriate that such a regulation be implemented as soon as possible,” he said. “It has been more than 50 years since it became clear that cigarettes are deadly and addictive when used as intended. Now is the time to act to reduce cigarettes Time for the addictive part.”
Dr. Panagis Gallasatos, an assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and a volunteer medicine spokesman for the American Lung Association, agrees.
“Reducing nicotine levels in cigarettes has been a public health strategy that we have been working on for the past two decades,” said Galiatsatos, who was involved in the study. “Nicotine is the reason people continue to smoke cigarettes, they know there are toxins in them, they know there are these carcinogens in it, not because they want to create terrible health conditions for themselves.”
For the study, Foulds and his colleagues studied 188 smokers who had mood or anxiety disorders and didn’t want to quit. They were randomly assigned to smoke either cigarettes with normal nicotine content or cigarettes with a phased reduction in nicotine content over an 18-week period.
During that time, the researchers found no significant differences in mental health between the two groups. Compared with those who smoked cigarettes with normal nicotine content, those who smoked cigarettes with lower nicotine content were more likely to quit smoking — 18 percent and 4 percent, respectively.
“It’s important to study people with mental health problems because they make up about 25 percent of the U.S. population but smoke 40 percent of cigarettes,” said Dr. Pamela Ling, director of the U.S. Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education. UCSF reviewed the findings.
She noted that people with mental health problems die earlier than the general population, often from smoking-related illnesses.
Ling said it was time for low-nicotine cigarettes to be the only cigarettes available.
“This study should allay concerns that reducing nicotine cigarettes may exacerbate symptoms in people with mental illness,” Ling said. “It is time for the FDA to take action to reduce nicotine in cigarettes to the lowest possible levels. This study shows that such action will help smokers quit, including those with mental health issues.”
Ultimately, Galiatsatos said, it’s politics, not health, that will determine whether low-nicotine cigarettes will replace today’s cigarettes.
“If it was just a battle over broccoli, we’d win,” he said. “It’s not. It makes a lot of money for a lot of people. But from a clinician’s perspective, we need to take advantage of these opportunities to implement appropriate clinical guidelines to keep these patients from smoking.”
The study was published online Nov. 2 in the journal PLOS ONE.
For more information on quitting smoking, visit US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Sources: Jonathan Foulds, Ph.D., Professor of Public Health Sciences and Psychiatry, Hershey, Pennsylvania State University; Panagis Galiatsatos, M.D., American Lung Association Volunteer Medical Spokesperson, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore; Pamela Ling , MD, MPH, Director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco; PLOS ONEOnline November 2, 2022