Diet cigarettes — aka smokes with lower nicotine levels — were found, unsurprisingly, to be less addictive than the full-blown cancer sticks, according to research published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Using 800 hardcore smokers who had no interest in giving up their cigs — and coincidentally, little regard for their overall health — researchers gave them regular cigarettes with 15.8 mg per gram of tobacco — the standard milligram content for cigarettes — as well as a new low-nicotine cigarette with .4 mg to 15.8 mg to puff on. The slashed nicotine amount wasn't disclosed to the smokers. At the end of the study, those people who were given the limited nicotine content cigs smoked an average of six cigarettes less per day than they did when they smoked their usual brand. What's more, 35 percent of the people given low-nicotine cigs tried to quit after the study concluded, compared to only 17 percent of the regular-strength cigarette group. As it stands, cigarette smoking is the leading cause of cancer and heart disease. The study was paid for by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the FDA, presumably talking to researchers over a nice low-nicotine smoke and a sugar-filled coffee or hot tea. Currently no low-nicotine cigarettes are available on the market. All told, the subjects were paid about $835 for their participation in the study. That's about 59 packs of cigarettes in New York City, where a pack runs about $14.
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