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A nicotine delivery device without the nicotine? Tobacco industry development of low nicotine cigarettes
  1. J Dunsby1,
  2. L Bero2
  1. 1Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, University of California, San Francisco, USA
  2. 2Department of Clinical Pharmacy, Institute for Health Policy Studies, Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, University of California, San Francisco, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr Lisa Bero
 3333 California Street, Suite 420, San Francisco, CA 92143-0613 (94118 express mail only), USA;


Background: Defining harm reduction and regulating potentially reduced exposure products (PREPs), including low nicotine products, are key issues in tobacco control policy. The US Congress has been considering legislation authorising the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate tobacco products.

Objective: To investigate tobacco industry perceptions, interests, motivations, and knowledge regarding the marketability of low nicotine tobacco products.

Methods: Qualitative analysis of internal tobacco industry documents identified in the Legacy Tobacco Documents Library between February 2002 and June 2004. Search terms included low-, no-, reduced-nicotine; denicotinization; low-, reduced- alkaloids; Next; de-nic; and key names of people, organisations, projects, and their common abbreviations and acronyms.

Results: The tobacco industry has made repeated efforts to develop low nicotine cigarettes. Reasons for doing so include consumer appeal and economic importance in a highly competitive cigarette market for “healthier” products. The industry considered the development of a new “denic” market segment a critical challenge.

Conclusions: The tobacco industry exploits consumer misunderstanding of the health effects of nicotine in development and marketing efforts. The industry has risked the development of a less addictive product to expand the market reach of tobacco products based on perceived health benefits and appeal to quitters.

  • ART, alkaloid reduced tobacco
  • FDA, Food and Drug Administration
  • PREPs, potentially reduced exposure products
  • addiction
  • harm reduction
  • marketing
  • nicotine
  • product development

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