Smoking without nicotine delivery decreases withdrawal in 12-hour abstinent smokers

Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1995 Jan;50(1):91-6. doi: 10.1016/0091-3057(94)00269-o.


The contribution of sensory factors to smoking satisfaction and nicotine withdrawal symptoms was assessed by evaluating responses to three types of cigarettes: a regular cigarette, a de-nicotinized cigarette (de-nic), and a lettuce leaf cigarette. Doses were varied by requiring subjects to smoke cigarettes using a five-port cigarette manifold. The ratio of the regular or de-nic cigarettes to the lettuce cigarettes was varied across the following values: zero, one, two, and four of five. Seven male smokers were tobacco-deprived for 12 h before testing. On one test day they smoked the de-nic cigarettes, and on another day they smoked the regular cigarettes. Ratings of satisfaction and cigarette linking were directly related to the number of regular or de-nic cigarettes, but were generally higher after the regular cigarette. The regular and de-nic cigarettes were equivalent in reducing acute withdrawal symptoms. Expired CO was similar on both experimental days. The regular cigarette dose-dependently increased plasma nicotine, but the de-nic cigarette did not increase plasma nicotine. These results indicate that sensory characteristics of cigarettes contribute to the abuse liability of smoke-delivered nicotine. The results suggest that smoking cigarettes that do not provide nicotine may temporarily suppress cigarette withdrawal symptoms.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nicotine / blood
  • Nicotine / pharmacology*
  • Pulse / drug effects
  • Pupil / drug effects
  • Skin Temperature / drug effects
  • Smoking / psychology*
  • Smoking Cessation*
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / psychology*


  • Nicotine