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Effect of Very Low Nicotine Content Cigarettes on Alcohol Drinking among Adult Smokers who are At-Risk Alcohol Drinkers



Pickworth, W.B.; Peters, E.; Monahan, E.; Smith, C.; Triplett, C.; Coleman-Cowger, V.

Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco Conference

Baltimore, MD


Significance. Alcohol drinking and tobacco smoking are closely related, but the underlying mechanism for the association is unclear. We assessed drinking and smoking behaviors while smoking a research cigarette (SPECTRUM) delivering moderate nicotine (0.80 mg, MNC) or very low nicotine (0.03 mg, VLNC) in participants with (n=23) and without (n=24) at-risk drinking (ARD). Methods.Daily drinking and smoking of SPECTRUM were recorded in a crossover study where participants exclusively smoked VLNC or MNC for 7 days. Smoking topography, subjective effects, and plasma nicotine levels were assessed at laboratory visits at the beginning and end of the experimental weeks. Results. At baseline, the groups had no significant differences in age, race, sex, cigarettes/day, nicotine dependence or scores on the Nicotine and Other Substance Interaction Expectancies Questionnaire . As expected, the ARD group had higher daily drinks (2.1) than the non-ARD (0.2) group. There was no effect of experimental cigarette (VLNC vs. MNC) or ARD group (ARD vs. non-ARD) on mean alcohol drinks per day after adjusting for baseline drinking behavior. Laboratory smoking was similar in both groups regardless of cigarette condition. Both groups rated the MNC significantly more acceptable (satisfying) than the VLNC. There was a marginally significant (p=0.09) three way interaction for the effect of sex*experimental cigarette*ARD group on mean alcohol drinks per day; inspection of the model-adjusted means suggested that non-ARD male participants and ARD female participants may increase drinking when smoking VLNC compared to MNC, which is not observed for ARD male participants or non-ARD female participants. Conclusions. The results tentatively suggest that alcohol use history does not alter the impact of varying nicotine content cigarettes on drinking or smoking behavior.

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