A clinical trial at Auckland University has found that smoking low-nicotine cigarettes could help smokers quit all together.
The three-year study involved 1410 participants, recruited through the Quitline programme.
The participants were given normal nicotine replacement therapy in the form of gum and patches.
Half were also given a six week supply of low-nicotine cigarettes, containing less than 0.5 milligrams of nicotine, which they could use if they felt they needed to smoke.
The research found that after six months, 23% of the participants who smoked during the study managed to quit compared to 15% of the participants who did not smoke.
Principal investigator Dr Natalie Walker says the cigarettes help smokers deal with some of the behavioural aspects of smoking.
She says when the smokers realise they are not getting nicotine from the cigarettes, they are inclined to stop smoking all together.