Brown University has a significant role in a new federally funded study of ways to reduce tobacco use. With $1.6 million over the next 5 years, Jennifer Tidey, associate professor of psychiatry and human behavior, will study the effect of varying nicotine levels in the cigarettes of depressed smokers, who often have a high degree of dependence. Studies suggest that given cigarettes with only a small amount of nicotine, people eventually wean themselves from smoking. “We’re essentially trying to find a ‘sweet-spot’ nicotine level that will reduce cigarette use without increasing puff intensity, worsening psychiatric symptoms or causing people to go back to their usual brand of cigarettes,” said Tidey, who is affiliated with the Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies. Tidey’s study is part of a larger grant from NIH and the FDA to the University of Vermont, where other researchers will conduct similar experiments with other populations of smokers, such as those with substance use disorder.

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