Advisory note: global nicotine reduction strategy
WHO Study Group on Tobacco Product Regulation
This advisory note presents the conclusions and recommendations of the members of the WHO Study Group on Tobacco Product Regulation (TobReg) on a policy for limiting the sale of cigarettes to brands with a nicotine content that is not sufficient to lead to the development and/or maintenance of addiction. Initial discussions began at the seventh meeting of TobReg, which was held in December 2013; discussions subsequently continued for more than 18 months because of the complexity and sensitivity of the topic.
One of the main conclusions was that no specific amount of nicotine has yet been identified as the absolute threshold for addiction; however, it is likely to be equal to or possibly less than 0.4 mg/g of dry cigarette tobacco filler.
The following topics are also covered in the advisory note:
- Cigarettes with a reduced nicotine content.
- Goals of a policy to reduce addiction to cigarettes.
- Tobacco addictiveness factors.
- Establishing a performance standard for nicotine products.
- Feasibility of reducing nicotine.
- Potential behavioural and population outcomes.
- Policy approaches to nicotine reduction.
The conclusions reached by TobReg and recommendations and research needs are discussed at the end of the advisory note.