Skepticism, Medicine and Science News

Not so light cigarettes

A new study was just published showing that there is very little difference between “light” and ordinary cigarettes in that they deliver nearly equal amounts of nicotine to the brain. 

Normal cigarettes have about 1.2-1.4 milligrams of nicotine, while light cigarettes have 0.6-1.0 milligrams.  The study found that the amount of nicotine reaching the brain was about the same for both of these, and even de-nicotinized cigarettes, containing only about 0.05 milligrams of nicotine, delivers a reasonable amount of nicotine to the brain.  The study was based on the usage of PET scans and a tracer that bound to the nicotine receptors in the brain. When the subjects in the study smoked, some of the tracer would be displaced by nicotine binding to the receptor, and they could thus measure the percentage of receptors bound to the nicotine from the cigarette. The final results were (in total % of occupied nicotine receptors):

  • Regular, non-light caigarette: 88% (from an earlier study)
  • Light cigarette: 79%
  • De-nicotinized cigarette: 26%
So, smoking isn’t very healthy either way. 

September 30, 2008 - Posted by | Medicine | , , , ,

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