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expert reaction to additives in low-tar cigarettes and addiction

Publishing in the journal Tobacco Control, researchers have examined inclusion of various compounds in ‘light’ cigarette products reporting that they were used to enhance acceptance and sales of the products through addiction and appeal.


Prof. Peter Hajek, Professor of Clinical Psychology and Director of Tobacco Dependence Research Unit, Queen Mary, University of London, said:

“The paper suggests that pyrazines may be one of the chemicals that make cigarettes addictive. It has been known for some time that nicotine is only addictive when combined with other chemicals in tobacco. This is why non-smokers do not find nicotine chewing gum or e-cigarettes attractive, only smokers who are already hooked on nicotine via cigarettes perceive them as rewarding.

“The most surprising thing about this paper is the Tobacco Control headline about addictiveness of e-cigarettes. E-cigarettes were not the subject of the article and they seem to have very little or no addictive potential. E-cigarettes appeal to smokers, but among non-smokers who experiment with them virtually nobody progresses to daily use. ”


‘A study of pyrazines in cigarettes and how additives might be used to enhance tobacco addiction’ by Alpert et al. published in Tobacco Control on Wednesday 10th June. 


Declared interests

Peter Hajek: I received research funding and provided consultancy for manufacturers of stop-smoking medications. I have no links with any e-cigarette manufacturers, my research into safety and effects of e-cigarettes is funded by MHRA, PHE, NIHR and UKCTAS.

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