Reducing tobacco-associated lung cancer risk: a study protocol for a randomized clinical trial of AB-free kava

Trials. 2023 Jan 18;24(1):36. doi: 10.1186/s13063-023-07081-x.


Background: Tobacco use is the leading cause of many preventable diseases, resulting in premature death or disease. Given that the majority of adult who smoke want to stop, this health burden could be significantly reduced if the success rate of tobacco cessation can be improved. In addition, most adults planning to quit were interested in trying complementary approaches to facilitating tobacco cessation, which is currently lacking. Therefore, there is an unmet and urgent need for novel interventions to improve the success of tobacco cessation. If such an intervention can reduce tobacco-associated lung carcinogenesis, that will be more desirable. The goal of this project is to develop a safe and effective kava-based intervention to enable tobacco cessation and reduce lung cancer risk, which will improve the health of smokers.

Methods: A randomized controlled trial will enroll 80 adults who currently smoke at least 10 cigarettes daily and randomize 1:1 into the placebo and AB-free kava arms, being exposed for 4 weeks, with a total of six visits (weeks 0, 1, 2, 4, 8, and 12) to evaluate the compliance and potential issues of AB-free kava use among the participants, explore the potential effect of the AB-free kava intervention on tobacco dependence, tobacco use, and lung carcinogenesis biomarkers. Participants will be enrolled during their primary care clinic visit.

Discussion: Primary care settings play a critical role in tobacco-related disease screening, counseling, and early intervention, as the majority of adults who smoke visit their physicians annually. Building upon our promising pilot human trial results in conjunction with ample compelling lab animal results, and consistent with evidence of kava's benefits from epidemiological data, this trial will evaluate the compliance of AB-free kava among adults who currently smoke with no intention to quit. The other exploratory aims include (1) whether AB-free kava intervention can reduce tobacco use and tobacco dependence; (2) whether AB-free kava use suppresses tobacco-induced carcinogenesis; and (3) the potential of the mechanism-based noninvasive biomarkers in precision AB-free kava intervention. The positive results from this study are expected to provide a great opportunity to effectively reduce smoking rates and tobacco-related diseases.

Trial registration: with the identifier: NCT05081882. Registered on October 18, 2021.

Keywords: Kava; Randomized controlled trial; Smoking cessation; Tobacco dependence.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial Protocol

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers
  • Humans
  • Kava*
  • Lung
  • Lung Neoplasms* / etiology
  • Lung Neoplasms* / prevention & control
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Smoking Cessation* / methods
  • Tobacco
  • Tobacco Use Disorder* / psychology


  • Biomarkers

Associated data