22 Aug 2014

Debate over low-nicotine cigarettes

2:45 pm on 22 August 2014

Tobacco researchers will consider whether cutting nicotine levels in cigarettes could in turn cut smoking rates.

Speakers at a symposium at the University of Auckland include a cancer specialist, policy makers, and staff from the Ministry of Health and Environmental Science and Research.

Today's symposium is considering what evidence there is to support reducing nicotine or cutting it altogether.

Auckland University's National Institute for Health Innovation director Chris Bullen said a reduction would only be part of the answer of the country becoming smoke-free by 2025.

"The nicotine's not really the most harmful thing; it's the thing that keeps you addicted. So it doesn't completely do away with the problem but what we're proposing is that it could be one way in conjuction with other strategies to help more people quit smoking."

Professor Bullen said there were also limits to what could be done under existing laws.

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