Spontaneous cigarette brand switching: consequences for nicotine and carbon monoxide exposure

Am J Public Health. 1987 Sep;77(9):1191-4. doi: 10.2105/ajph.77.9.1191.


A group of smokers who had participated in smoking-related studies three to six years earlier were re-studied to assess changes in their smoking practices. Individuals who smoked the same brands of cigarettes showed no change in plasma cotinine (reflecting exposure to nicotine) or expired carbon monoxide (CO) concentration. Those who switched to cigarettes of lower nicotine yield (average decrease 38 per cent) showed reduced plasma cotinine concentrations, due primarily to smoking fewer cigarettes per day. The intake of nicotine per cigarette was not different. Subjects who smoked cigarettes of higher yield (102 per cent increase) had higher cotinine and CO levels, due to greater intake per cigarette.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Carbon Monoxide / analysis*
  • Choice Behavior*
  • Cotinine / blood*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pyrrolidinones / blood*
  • Respiration*
  • Smoking*


  • Pyrrolidinones
  • Carbon Monoxide
  • Cotinine