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Neuroscience For Kids

Nicotine in Cigarettes Goes Up
September 5, 2006

On August 29, 2006, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health released a report indicating that the amount of nicotine inhaled by the average smoker has increased since 1998. From 1998 to 2004, the 116 cigarette brands studied delivered 10% more nicotine to smokers.

Doral and Kool brand cigarettes had the largest increases in nicotine yield. These cigarettes delivered 36% (Doral 85 Filter Light Hard Pack) and 30% (Kool 85 Filter Light Menthol Soft Pack) more nicotine from 1998 to 2004. In 1998, none of the cigarettes tested delivered more than 3.0 mg nicotine per cigarette. In 2004, five brands delivered more than 3.0 mg nicotine per cigarette.

The increased levels of nicotine in cigarettes may make it easier for people to get hooked on cigarettes and more difficult for smokers to "kick the habit." Doctors may also have trouble providing the correct dose of medicines to help smokers stop smoking. Because nicotine interacts with medications that treat a variety of illnesses, dosages of these medications may to be altered to take into account the higher nicotine levels.

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