Eighty percent of smokers support cutting level of nicotine in cigarettes - study

A study has found 80 percent of smokers and recent quitters support cutting the level of nicotine in cigarettes and tobacco.

The University of Otago study says removing nicotine would mean cigarettes are no longer addictive, and smokers would find it much easier to quit.

"It would also greatly reduce the risk of adolescents and young people becoming addicted to smoked tobacco products in the first place," Professor Richard Edwards said.

Prof Edwards, the principal investigator of the New Zealand branch of the study, said the findings could explain why smokers remain unconvinced that vaping is less harmful than smoking.

He said the study underlines the importance of raising awareness about the risk of products containing nicotine.

"This should include efforts to increase understanding that nicotine, although highly addictive, is not the main cause of the diseases caused by smoking."

The US Food and Drug Administration has also proposed reducing nicotine levels in cigarettes.

Almost three-quarters of smokers questioned said they were interested in trying low or nicotine-free cigarettes.

The study highlights the urgency of considering innovative measures to help achieve New Zealand becoming smoke free by 2025, Prof Edwards said.

The New Zealand Government is considering banning most flavours of vape liquid and only allowing three flavours to be sold.

Associate Minister of Health Jenny Salesa told Newshub the move will be part of legislation on vaping expected to be introduced to Parliament soon.