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Response to Reduced Nicotine Content in Vulnerable Populations: Effect of Menthol Status

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Objectives: In this study, we investigated potential effects of being a menthol smoker on response to reduced nicotine content (RNC) cigarettes in smokers especially vulnerable to smoking. Method: Participants were 169 smokers (61 menthol and 108 non-menthol smokers) with comorbid mental illness, substance use disorder, or socioeconomic disadvantage. Participants completed a double-blind study assessing addiction potential, withdrawal/craving, and compensatory smoking across 4 research cigarettes varying in nicotine content from very low levels to commercial levels (0.4, 2.4, 5.2, 15.8mg/g of tobacco). Repeated measures analysis of variance was used to examine potential moderating effects of menthol status. Results: Statistically significant effects of nicotine dose were noted across measures, with higher doses producing greater economic demand and relief from withdrawal/craving. The relationships between nicotine dose and response to RNC cigarettes do not differ by menthol status. Conclusions: Results of this study suggest menthol does not have a differential impact on response to RNC cigarettes across measures of economic demand, withdrawal/craving, or smoking topography. These results suggest that any potential beneficial effects of RNC cigarettes should extend to menthol smokers including those especially vulnerable to smoking.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2019

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  • Tobacco Regulatory Science (Electronic ISSN 2333-9748) is a rigorously peer-reviewed online scientific journal for the dissemination of research relevant to the regulation of tobacco products. The journal content includes a broad array of research domains, including chemistry, biology, behavior, community, and population-level surveillance and epidemiology, as well as knowledge syntheses (eg, meta-analyses or state-of-the-art reviews) and analytic modeling. All articles describe the policy relevance of the research outcomes. Given the global nature of tobacco regulation, particularly as a result of international and national policies, Tobacco Regulatory Science publishes high quality research that is relevant to global regulatory needs and requirements. Tobacco Regulatory Science is published electronically 6 times per year.
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